Cold War Monks

Buddhism and America's Secret Strategy in Southeast Asia

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Eugene Ford
  • New Haven, CT: 
    Yale University Press
    , October
     2017.
     392 pages.
     $40.00.
     Hardcover.
    ISBN
    9780300218565.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.

Description

The groundbreaking account of U.S. clandestine efforts to use Southeast Asian Buddhism to advance Washington’s anticommunist goals during the Cold War.

How did the U.S. government make use of a “Buddhist policy” in Southeast Asia during the Cold War despite the American principle that the state should not meddle with religion? To answer this question, Eugene Ford delved deep into an unprecedented range of U.S. and Thai sources and conducted numerous oral history interviews with key informants. Ford uncovers a riveting story filled with U.S. national security officials, diplomats, and scholars seeking to understand and build relationships within the Buddhist monasteries of Southeast Asia.

This fascinating narrative provides a new look at how the Buddhist leaderships of Thailand and its neighbors became enmeshed in Cold War politics and in the U.S. government’s clandestine efforts to use a predominant religion of Southeast Asia as an instrument of national stability to counter communist revolution.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Eugene Ford received a PhD in history from Yale University, winning the Arthur and Mary Wright Prize for an outstanding dissertation in the field of history outside the United States or Europe.

Keywords: 

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