Brain Candy Sale

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Visit our stores

    Recently Viewed clear list

    The Powell's Playlist | September 25, 2015

    Caitlin Doughty: IMG Caitlin Doughty's Playlist for Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

    The soundtrack perfectly suited to facing your own mortality. ("My Way," "Wind beneath My Wings," and other popular funeral songs need not apply.)... Continue »
    1. $11.17 Sale Trade Paper add to wish list

Qualifying orders ship free.
New Hardcover
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Available for In-store Pickup
in 7 to 12 days
Qty Store Section
8 Remote Warehouse Anthropology- Cultural Anthropology
1 Remote Warehouse Anthropology- Cultural Anthropology

The Fate of Rural Hell


The Fate of Rural Hell Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In 1975, when political scientist Benedict Anderson reached Wat Phai Rong Wua, a massive temple complex in rural Thailand conceived by Buddhist monk Luang Phor Khom, he felt he had wandered into a demented Disneyland. One of the worldandrsquo;s most bizarre tourist attractions, Wat Phai Rong Wua was designed as a cautionary museum of sorts; its gruesome statues depict violent and torturous scenes that showcase what hell may be like. Over the next few decades, Anderson, who is best known for his work, Imagined Communities, found himself transfixed by this unusual amalgamation of objects, returning several times to see attractions like the largest metal-cast Buddha figure in the world and the Palace of a Hundred Spires. The concrete statuaries and perverse art in Luang Phorandrsquo;s personal museum of hell included, andldquo;side by side, an upright human skeleton in a glass cabinet and a life-size replica of Michelangeloandrsquo;s gigantic nude David, wearing fashionable red underpants from the top of which poked part of a swollen, un-Florentine penis,andrdquo; alongside dozens of statues of evildoers being ferociously punished in their afterlife.
In The Fate of Rural Hell, Anderson unravels the intrigue of this strange setting, endeavoring to discover what compels so many Thai visitors to travel to this popular spectacle and what order, if any, inspired its creation. At the same time, he notes in Wat Phai Rong Wua the unexpected effects of the gradual advance of capitalism into the far reaches of rural Asia.
Both a one-of-a-kind travelogue and a penetrating look at the community that sustains it, The Fate of Rural Hell is sure to intrigue and inspire conversation as much as Wat Phai Rong Wua itself.

About the Author

Benedict Anderson is professor emeritus of international studies and politics and government studies at Cornell University. He is best known for Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism.

Table of Contents


Strange Ghosts

Luang Phor Khom and His Times


Temple Boy? Temple Slave?

The Future


Product Details

Anderson, Benedict
Seagull Books
anthropology;cultural anthropology
Edition Description:
Publication Date:
24 color plates
7.75 x 5.5 in

Other books you might like

  1. Encyclopedia of Eastern Philosophy... Used Trade Paper $6.95

Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Art » General
Arts and Entertainment » Art » Religious
Arts and Entertainment » Art » Sculpture » General
Arts and Entertainment » Art » Sculpture » Technique
History and Social Science » Anthropology » Cultural Anthropology
History and Social Science » Asia » India » Ancient and General
History and Social Science » Asia » Thailand and Laos
History and Social Science » World History » India
History and Social Science » World History » Southeast Asia

The Fate of Rural Hell New Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.50 In Stock
Product details 99 pages Seagull Books - English 9780857420275 Reviews:
  • back to top


Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at