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Anna and the King of Siam [Paperback]

Margaret Landon
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Nov 1999

Original novel based on Anna Leonowens’s diaries which was the spark that launched the original movie and long-running musical.

A tale of comedy and tragedy, intrigue and mysticism, cruelty and gentle wisdom, this is the story of the ‘real’ Anna and the King of Siam.

In the 1860s King Mongkut of Siam engaged Anna Leonowens, an Englishwoman, to teach his many children and favourite concubines. Margaret Landon mixes mostly fact with fiction to evoke with stunning detail a time when foreign lands were still unknown and traditions ruled daily life.

This classic, bestselling story, written more than fifty years ago, was the source of inspiration for the beloved movie and long-running Broadway musical The King and I. Now, as a major feature film is released from 20th Century Fox starring Jodie Foster, thousands of new fans are poised to discover the magic of this classic romantic tale.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; 1st HarperPerennial Ed edition (Nov 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060954884
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060954888
  • Product Dimensions: 20.4 x 13.7 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 340,034 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

The timeless tale that inspired 'The King and I' and the major motion picture 'Anna and the King'

Margaret Landon lived as a missionary in Siam (now Thailand) where she became fascinated with the story of Anna Leonowens, the Englishwoman who was hired as a governess by King Mongkut of Siam in the 1860s. Engaged to teach his many children and favourite concubines, Anna also helped the King write his extraordinary letters to foreign rulers and diplomats. She was instrumental in the education of the young prince who eventually became Thailand's most progressive King, and , inspired by Anna's anti-slavery teachings, abolished slavery and instituted many radical reforms in a country that was slowly dragging itself into the twentieth century.

Mixing fact with fiction, Margaret Landon tells a dazzling tale of comedy and tragedy, intrigue and mysticism, cruelty and gentle wisdom and, of course, a forbidden love between two extraordinarily different people. This classic, bestselling story that has been translated into dozens of languages continues to enchant and delight audiences around the world.

“A biography of unusual charm, an inviting escape into an unfamiliar, exotic past. Margaret Landon's style is one calculated to transport us instantly.”
NEW YORK TIMES

“This is an enchanting book… the amazing story [Margaret Landon] has to tell is recounted with humour and understanding. And what a story it is!”
ATLANTIC MONTHLY

“A remarkable book”
NEW REPUBLIC

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Margaret Landon lived in Siam from 1927 to 1937 with her husband, a missionary. She read, wrote and spoke Siamese fluently. Fascinated by the story of Anna Leonowens during this time, she completed the research necessry to fill out Anna’s story and write this classic work of fiction.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
THE Siamese steamer Chow Phya, most modern of the ships plying between Singapore and Bangkok, came to anchor outside the bar at the mouth of the River Chow Phya. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best biography I have ever read! 22 Jan 2001
Format:Paperback
This Book is one of the amazing treasure of someone's expirience. Margaret Landon has put this book together by extreme talent which make this book become more appealing to me than any other Historical biographies. The story it self offer every single intreguing aspect of Southeast Asia culture and how an ordinary English Lady could manage to adapt within a different culture and make so much difference and happiness to people around her. This book is a must read for everyone who enjoy historical reading.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Anna and the King 13 Jun 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I first saw the film Anna and the King when I was a child with my parents and at that time the full horror of the era of Siam did not impact upon me. The musical version gave me an impression of fun and lightness and learning and I must have glossed over the horror of Tuptim's life and death. Slavery did not impact upon me either. It was when I was much older and saw a later version of the film that I began to see the historical issues involved. It occured to me that I might be able to find a copy of the book that the films were based upon. I chose to treat myself to a first edition of this book and so began my journey into a very different world. There is good background information about the author's search for details about Anna Leonowens and at the end, an update of her later life and meeting with Prince Chulalongkorn - another aspect of the story I found fascinating as he informed Anna that her teaching had been instrumental in many of the changes he made to his kingdom. Within the book itself there is much that was used in the films but nothing like the detail of her life and her fears - not only for her own life but that of her son, servants and the royal wives and children. She made many lasting relationships and led a fascinating life at a time when lone women did not venture far from either the parental or married home. This book is a thoughtful and insightful read that says as much for the times as it does for brave and intrepid women. An excellent read on many levels.
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'm glad to have read this wonderful book. It has had me fighting back tears, wide-eyed in awe, and laughing out loud in equal measure. Some of the descriptions are rather lengthy, but necessary to give scale and perspective to the claustrophobic feel of life cloistered within the palace confines where the narrative takes place.
I'm not surprised that the Siamese authorities of the day, did all in their power to try to suppress publication of Anna's own memoirs as governess to the royal children, and wives. Readers will make up their own mind about the King. I think he was a terrible cruel despot, even by the standards of his time.
The descriptions of regional and global political manoeuvres surrounding the characters are quite an eye opener too. The superpowers of the day were squabbling and struggling to expand their influence in the region, which makes for an interesting backdrop to the story of Anna and the King. Definitely a must-read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The most amazing story in my life 31 Oct 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Anna and the King was the most amazing book I have ever read so far. I was captivated by its story line and the surroundings. It was more than just a biography. It is a true story about an extremely brave English woman who changed the world of Siam (now called Thailand) and facilitated the improvement of its whole political system. I would strongly recommend reading this fantastic novel for everyone.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The King and ... 29 Oct 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book, a paperback, carries the story of Leonowens, upon which the story of 'the King and I' was based. It is ideal material, for anyone wishing to understand the people portrayed in the musical, with deep insights into their personalities and characters.
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