In old Siam the king stood alone, without equal, without near equal…The king lived in such thorough isolation from ordinary folk that he often knew little of what was going on in the kingdom, and therefore usually did not interfere. His strength also was limited by the counterbalancing power of provincial governors and local lords, for he often had to fear their revolt. Although the history of Thailand records no instance of popular uprising, it records frequent instances of usurpation by palace coup. The king had to step carefully through the maze of palace intrigue and faction and listen closely to the sentiments of officials and aristocrats.

– Extracted from: Wendell Blanchard (in collaboration with Henry C. Ahalt, Aldon D. Bell, Mary E. Gresham, Bernard G. Hoffman and Jean H. McEwan). Thailand: Its people, its society, its culture. New Haven: Human Relations Area Files. p. 149-150.

As a contextual aside, Robert B. Textor from Cornell University penned an interesting and very critical review of this book in 1959. One of the points he makes is about the non-recognition of work that informs this volume completed by Lauriston Sharp, and others. Textor, of course, went on to a long career at Stanford University and a major anthropology prize is named in his honour.