Americans in Thailand launch

Posted on the 3rd December 2014 by Lindsay

Editions Didier Millet launched its lavish hardcover book, Americans in Thailand, with a grand party in the Four Seasons Bangkok attended by 250 people, including the movers and shakers of the American expat community, many high-profile Thais and other nationalities.

Dr Surin Pitsuwan, a former secretary-general of ASEAN with a PhD from Harvard, charmed the crowd with his keynote speech, drawing laughs when he mentioned how he’d wanted to study in California or Florida, some place sunny with palm trees, but wound up in the cold and wintry Minnesota.  The former Minister of Foreign Affairs also spoke at length about the close and mutually beneficial relationship enjoyed by the United States and Thailand over more than two centuries. As documented in the book, the Americans built the first private schools and clinics while also helping the kingdom to ward off colonization by the French and British. 

One of the most famous American musicians in Thailand, Todd “Thongdee” Lavelle, was on hand to emcee the event and entertain the crowd with his Thai-farang band. 

The crowd snapped up copies of the book, which tells the sometimes colorful, often funny and by turns tragic story of the American community from the first arrival in 1818 through the present day. Many of the most famous Americans are included, such as Jim Thompson, the legendary silk trader, Bill Heinecke, the richest foreign businessman in Thailand who became a Thai citizen, and William Klausner, who first came to Thailand in 1955, taught law for decades at Chulalongkorn University and continues to serve as an advisor on Thai culture for that institution.  

Americans in Thailand, the first comprehensive book about one of the world’s most vibrant foreign communities, is on sale at Asia Books and Kinokuniya for 1,295 baht.

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Dr Surin Pitsuwan (center) with Yvan Van Outrive (left) and Didier Millet (right) of Editions Didier Millet (EDM), which launched its new history book Americans in Thailand on November 24 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Bangkok. The colorful and detailed book tells the story of the American community from the first arrival in 1818 through the present day.

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The editorial team behind Americans in Thailand, which was launched on November 24 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Bangkok by Dr Surin Pitsuwan. From left to right: Theerawat Pojvibulsiri, Purnama Pawa, Grissarin Chungsiriwat, Nicholas Grossman, Wesley Hsu, Denis Gray, Robert Horn, Jim Algie, David Lyman and Yvan Van Outrive.

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Dr Surin Pitsuwan (left) receives the new history book Americans in Thailand from its editor Nicholas Grossman (right) on November 24 at the Four Seasons Hotel. Dr Surin was the keynote speaker at the launch of this colorful new book, which tells the story of the American community from 1818 through the present day. 

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Dr Surin Pitsuwan was the keynote speaker at the launch of the colorful and detailed new book, Americans in Thailand, which tells the story of the American community from 1818 through the present day. The event saw more than 250 Americans and Thais and other nationalities celebrate at the Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok on November 24.