This is a clear, perceptive and well written book about Siam- a country not often examined in such detail- by an Australian journalist who served three years as press attache at his country's embassy in Bangkok. The author found a country of 23 million people, relatively prosperous, primarily farmers or fishermen, distinguished chiefly by their serenity toward life. But Bartlett is too shrewd an observer to fail to see that, though to a lesser extent, there is the same misery that afflicts the balance of Asia. He is also resigned to the eventual submersion of the gentler Siamese arts by some of the more unpleasant aspects of Western Culture (Elvis Presley, rock 'n' roll, etc.) Bartlett surveys everything from opium dens to Buddhist rites and temples, and includes an analysis of politics in this land that has never known colonialism. He finds politics personal in Siam, rather than ideological, and government a succession of coups. An interesting sidelight is the apparent lack of regard by those in the know for that famous little English governess who enjoyed book, musical and movie success here. She is shown as a self-important busybody and inaccurate reporter.