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Siamese White

4.50  ·  Rating details ·  20 ratings  ·  4 reviews
Foremost among the biographies that Maurice Collis wrote during his wide-ranging literary career is Siamese White - an account of the career of Samuel White of Bath who, during the reign of James II, was appointed by the King of Siam as a mandarin of that country. The book superbly embodies that old adage - truth is stranger than fiction. 'A magnificent story, full of inte ...more
Published 1947 by Albatross (first published 1936)
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Having postponed to read this book presumably taken as a novel since my college years in the late 1960's, I've recently decided to have a go with it due to my ongoing interest during my 12-year retirement in anything Siamese or Ayutthayan around the 17th century as perceived, written and published by foreign travelers, merchants, diplomats, etc. Indeed, it was like my long, familiar friend coolly and patiently perching on the shelf kept waiting for me to have a look inside. As far as I recalled ...more
Apr 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, biography
If you are interested in some of history's strange byways, you could hardly do better than to read the works of Maurice Collis (1889-1973). Starting out as a British civil servant in Burma, Collis had accumulated a vast store of information about Southeast Asia which he set about using in a series of books that are obscure, intriguing, and yet -- paradoxically -- important in describing the European colonial experience in that part of the world.

Particularly interesting are The Land of the Great
Ellen Bard
May 25, 2020 rated it liked it
Entertaining and very surprisingly story of a part of south east Asia's early history with Europeans (which hardly does Europe credit...). Written in the early 20th c based on papers and activities from the 17th century, it covers the early East India Trading company, pirates, English-Thai relations and a picture of what life was life in those times of colonialism. Can be uncomfortable to read as the attitudes of those in both time-periods to non-Europeans (even to non-English TBH) are disdainfu ...more
Simon Normanton
Vivid, as if I was there and then. Remarkable that this record of the world’s least explored archipelago exists, perhaps the only such record. Immensely readable
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