Consul in Paradise: Sixty-Eight Years in Siam
By W.A.R. Wood
William Alfred Rae Wood arrived in Siam in 1896, the youngest consular officer ever to serve Queen Victoria's foreign service in this country. He continued to serve Britain's overseas government service for 35 years, retiring in Chiang Mai in 1931. There he stayed for most of his life until he died at the age of 91 in 1970. He was interned in Thailand for 3 years during World War II. He married Panya Chitpreecha (Boon) who was of Shan descent in 1906 and they had two daughters.
Consul in Paradise was first published in 1935 under the title Land of Smiles. During the war the printer of the original book was bombed and the plates and most of the stock were lost. In 1965 the new edition was published with four new chapters and new pictures. This present edition was published in 2003 and includes an afterword by Michael Smithies.
Most of Wood's government service seems to have been in running British and international law courts which were then part of the law system of Thailand. Both British citizens and those of the British Empire fell under the remit of these courts and consuls like Wood acted as the judges. His writings do catch the flavour of these much earlier times rather well.
Chiang Mai 2003
Size 140 x 215 mm