Montesano, Michael J; Terence Chong & Mark Heng, eds. (2018) After the Coup: The National Council for Peace and Order Era and the Future of Thailand. Singapore: ISEAS Yusof Ishak Institute. 465 pp.

​ISBN: 978-981-4818-98-8

Marte Nilsen

Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO)

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​Despite the title, pointing to the specific junta rule period of the National Council for Peace and Order (2014–19), this book joins the rank of academic contributions discussing the wider political crisis in Thailand that started in the early 2000s, but whose roots can be traced back to the 1950s. While many books on ongoing political conflicts tend to get outdated rather quickly, this is not likely to be the case with this volume. The book does not only discuss a simplified divide between the military and the old elite on the one side and opposing political parties and popular movements on the other. Rather, it analyses a broad range of identity conflicts and contestations over the structure of the Thai nation. An important strength of the book is that the contributors to the various chapters almost exclusively are Thai academics. The authors thus manage to strike the difficult balance between raising sharp critique while remaining sensitive to the complex and politically delicate topics of the book. Its emphasis on the dynamics between the key state institutions, the military and the monarchy, is mastered particularly well, and the authors largely avoid caricaturing the different positions of political divides. Despite the oppressive political climate in Thailand since the 2014 coup, the authors boldly present sharp analyses of key historical and contemporary events and dynamics to explain the current political crisis. After the Coup is a useful contribution to anyone with an interest in Thailand or Southeast Asia, as well as to researchers studying the complexity of military influence over democratization processes.