New York, NY (PRWEB) February 16, 2010
Jakarta-based Equinox Publishing is pleased to announce the global availability of Federico Ferrara's latest book, "Thailand Unhinged: Unraveling the Myth of a Thai-style Democracy" on 18 February 2010. "We are mainly known for publishing books about Indonesia, but I immediately loved the manuscript and wanted it for our catalog. Then, when I discovered not a single Thailand-based publisher would touch it, I knew it was something we just had to publish," said Mark Hanusz, Founder and Publisher at Equinox. "Our first book ("Bangkok Inside Out") was banned for some silly reason like not enough Thai people were smiling in it, so there's a good chance we'll be 2 for 2 with Thailand Unhinged." Author Federico Ferrara explains, "Though the timing of the book's release is fortuitous, I don't think I could have chosen a more opportune time had I been given the chance. As the specter of a military coup returns to haunt the city of Bangkok, this book seeks to capture the intoxicating mixture of fear, hope, and frenzied anticipation that marks these fascinating times."
"Thailand Unhinged" offers a trenchant analysis of Thai politics and society over the tumultuous years that followed the ouster of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Thailand's ongoing political crisis is explained through the prism of the country's painful post-absolutist history – a history marred by the systematic sabotage of any meaningful democratic development, the routine hijacking of democratic institutions, and the continued suffocation of the Thai people's democratic aspirations orchestrated by an unelected ruling class in an increasingly desperate attempt to hold on to its power. The book includes scathing critiques of both Thaksin's administration as well as the military-backed government that came to power in late 2008, following the week-long siege of the country's busiest airports staged by the "yellow shirts" of the People's Alliance for Democracy. The essays are written in a provocative, confrontational style – making Thailand Unhinged a decidedly unconventional mix of academic scholarship, literary journalism, and radical pamphleteering.
Opening with a glimpse of the 2006 coup, "Thailand Unhinged" chronicles of Thailand's decades-long oscillation between fledgling democracy and military dictatorship, assessing the conventional wisdom on the instability of Thailand's democratic institutions. In the process, it debunks the notion that the rift between city and countryside has anything to do with competing visions of “democracy.” It exposes the speciousness of the case concocted to justify Thaksin's ouster by examining the threat that the former Prime Minister posed to a network of unelected "big men" in the civilian and military bureaucracy. It describes Abhisit Vejjajiva's glide into the Prime Minister's office as exemplary of the myriad ways in which Thailand's most prominent unelected institutions have typically sought to undermine the country's democratic development. It illustrates Thailand's class structure through a graphic account of the reality of prostitution, the incentive structure leading young provincial women by the tens of thousands to enter the sex trade, and the opportunities for massive financial gain that the promotion of sex tourism offers politicians, generals, businessmen, and noblemen. Taking the debate raging on over the country's lese majeste legislation as a case in point, it deconstructs the idea of "Thai-style democracy," denouncing it as little more than an exotic-sounding label for a run-of-the-mill, European-style dictatorship. And it reflects on what the events of the past three years portend for Thailand's prospects of democratization, now that the old order may have finally begun to unravel - making it a must-read book for anyone following contemporary Thai politics.
"Thailand Unhinged" can be ordered directly from the publisher at http://www.EquinoxPublishing.com, on Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/dp/9793780762/ as well as bookstores throughout Thailand (once we can find some that are willing to carry it).
It is also available for a limited preview on Google Book Search http://books.google.com/books?id=QivfB-XLgsUC&printsec=frontcover and Kindle and Apple's iBook formats will be ready by the end of March 2010.
About the Author
FEDERICO FERRARA is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the National University of Singapore and will join the Department of Asian and International Studies at the City University of Hong Kong later this year. Federico holds a PhD in Political Science from Harvard University (2008). His research focuses on issues broadly related to democratization, electoral politics, and domestic political conflict in non-Western societies; previous writings have appeared in top academic journals such as the American Journal of Political Science, the Journal of Conflict Resolution, and Electoral Studies as well as the book Mixed Electoral Systems published by Palgrave-Macmillan in 2005. Federico has spent over a year in Thailand, where he returns often to conduct archival research and study the Thai language. His blog Khi Kwai (buffalo dung) is a popular English-language blog on Thai politics and society.
About the Publisher
EQUINOX PUBLISHING is an Indonesia-based independent book publisher founded on the autumnal equinox in 1999. Publishing categories include fiction, non-fiction, luxury illustrated and specially-commissioned works. All of Equinox's titles can be found on their website http://www.EquinoxPublishing.com.