The King Never Smiles
Yale University Press understands the forthcoming publication of Paul Handley’s book has given cause for concern. The book is dispassionate in tone and temperament, and has been thoroughly vetted both by leading scholars in the field and by the Yale University Press Faculty Committee. The author stands behind this book one hundred percent as does the Press. Journalist Paul Handley spent thirteen years living in Thailand and reporting on Thailand and South East Asia. His book is a deeply researched, interpretive biography of King Bhumibol, covering the King’s life, thinking, and ruling philosophy. It recasts post-1932 Thai political history to include the monarchy’s role (which has been skirted and omitted by every other modern history of the country).More generally, it is a portrait of the workings of one modern constitutional monarchy, with focus on issues on constitutionalism. The title of the book refers, simply, to the Buddhist concept of uppeka, or equanimity, in the projection of the king’s image. The timing of publication is purely coincidental with this year’s anniversary.