I was excited when I saw this novel. Written in 2012, I thought it might provide an interesting analysis of the changes occurring with this fascinating country. Unfortunately, this book has been written several times before over the last 15 years. I would estimate 95% of the book reads like a human rights report: detailing human rights abuses carried out in the ethnic areas and repression experienced in the Burman-dominated areas. While important to remember and understand the reasons for conflict, Rogers gives no sense of discussing how future progress could be achieved. For example, after detailing human rights abuses in the Kachin state, he could not even clearly spell out why the ceasefire has recently broken down and what steps could be taken to reconcile. Chapters are full of negative views and experiences, although he allows single sentences at the end of each chapter acknowledging that yes things are changing.
He seems particularly wedded to the idea of the NLD winning power and all will be rosy. There was zero discussion on the economic challenges ASSK would face if in power, for example, how to develop the infrastructure, healthcare, education systems; how to include the rural population (which is the majority) in any economic development. Zero discussion on how equipped the NLD actually are to take power. Zero discussion on the role that members of the international community could or will play in the process of the development of the economy or democratic institutions.
Overall this book is a severely limited discussion of the current situation in Myanmar and a huge disappointment for me. This is a far cry from a critical analysis of how Myanmar's long-term problems are being tackled and what effect new arising tensions are having on the country. Crucially, for me, the author omitted mentioning the optimism that is rapidly growing among the people of this country. This is a country on the move and the people of Myanmar are excited. Get with the times.