A British Tragedy in Old Siam, by Simon Landy
River Books, 248 pages, [email protected]
Every country has historic dates that prominently stand out. These will forever be remembered as important turning points in the nation’s future. In the UK it is The Glorious First of June (1794); in the U.S. it is 4th July 1776; and in Thailand it is 17-18th May 1688.
We can add 18th April 1855 to that list. This was when the Bowring Treaty was signed between the UK and Thailand. The pact initiated an explosive increase in trade, cemented Thailand’s rise as an independent nation equal to any and brought in modernisation.
Simon Landy’s new book is a riveting, can’t out-it-down, detailed look at the events and people surrounding the treaty. A very important contribution to Thai and UK history; it is also professionally crafted, highly detailed and well researched look at events and personages surrounding it. It is remarkably even handed and insightful. The book is highly readable, most erudite, and very enjoyable.