Published in early 2016,Thailand Timeline 1500-2015 by Duncan Stearn was, and remains, the first major work to cover the all-important decade since the 2006 coup and its aftermath, detailing the important events which have shaped the nation in all facets of daily life in a simple, non-academic and easy-to-read, factual format. Paul Dorsey, The Nation’s book reviewer, noted that it was ‘a remarkable new catalogue of the Kingdom’s history… Clearly a dedicated keeper of lists and clippings, Stearn has assembled “Thailand Timeline” from a broad range of sources, from wrinkled old tomes and the pageant of print journalism to this Internet thing that everyone’s talking about.
Thumbing through the book, the reader’s abiding reaction is, “Where on earth did he find the time?” The book’s first entry, and the only one from 1500, is about King Ramathibodhi II of Ayutthaya commissioning a large statue of the Lord Buddha for a local temple. The timeline ends on the last day of 2015 with the birth of the Asian Economic Community (AEC). Dorsey wrote, ‘To give an idea of how much denser the entries become with the march of aeons, 1975 is the book’s halfway mark…’ So, for anyone especially keen on Thailand’s most recent history, say the decades since the end of the Second World War, this book covers every moment you can think of and many you’ve completely forgotten about.
The diversity of information is such that one entry may cover the monarchy, the next politics, the next a sporting triumph, followed by war, the arts, and architecture. It’s a daunting array. The index at the back is comprehensive and includes entries on people such as Joseph Conrad, John Steinbeck, and Neil Armstrong to Rocky Marciano and Duke Ellington.
Thailand Timeline 1500-2015 runs to more than 180,000 words and around 7,000 entries Sadly, the book is not available in bookshops in Thailand, it does require going online and either purchasing it as an e-book (at just US$9.95) or as a print on demand publication (at US$29.95; 392 pages) delivered to your doorstep. Go to Smashwords (which includes the likes of Apple, Kobi, Barnes & Noble and the like) https://www.smashwords. com/books/view/636271 or the ubiquitous Amazon.