The Last Siamese comprises twelve stories about prominent people of exceptional talent and vitality born between 1872 and 1930. In those years, foreigners knew the country as Siam, although the Siamese themselves called it muang Thai (or “The Land of the Free”) and referred to themselves as khon Thai (“Thai people”). In 1939, Field Marshal Pibulsonggram, who was also born “Siamese” and is a subject of this book, changed the country’s name from Siam to Thailand. This policy was the source of some contention until the matter was decisively concluded in 1949. From that point on the country has been known as Thailand.
"Absorbing, exciting and intelligent."
“Teddy evokes Siam from the1900s to the 1960s, through stories of remarkable individuals … engagingly told with some creative licence to put the humanity into the history. The Last Siamese is a delightful read.”
CHRIS BAKER, Co-author with Pasuk Pongpaichit of A History of Thailand
“The author presents a set of essays about individuals across the political spectrum … written to entertain as much as to instruct, as it should be with an expert raconteur like Teddy Spha Palasthira.”
GRANT EVANS, Asian Review of Books
“The Last Siamese shows how personal character can shape history, through the defining events of a dozen charismatic lives. Teddy has a keen eye for the hidden details of history and has written a charming book.”
PHILIP CORNWEL-SMITH, author of Very Thai : Everyday Popular Culture
“Teddy’s latest book offers sketches of 12 different figures … What he says about them will come as a revelation. Overall, the book presents a portrait of a turbulent era, one in which Thailand underwent many changes. I enjoyed it tremendously.”
WILLIAM WARREN, author of Jim Thompson, The Legendary American