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Where China Meets India: Burma and the New Crossroads of Asia Hardcover – 18 Aug 2011

8 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; Main edition (18 Aug. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571239633
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571239634
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 3.3 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 58,224 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author


Thant Myint-U was born in New York City in 1966 to Burmese parents and was educated at Harvard and Cambridge University, where he completed his PhD in history in 1996.
He has served on three United Nations peacekeeping operations, in Cambodia and in the former Yugoslavia, as well as six years with the UN Secretariat in NY, including as the head of policy planning in the Department of Political Affairs.

He has also taught modern history for several years as a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, and is the author of three books, The Making of Modern Burma, The River of Lost Footsteps: A Personal History of Burma, and, most recently, Where China Meets India: Burma and the New Crossroads of Asia, which was short-listed for the Asia Society's Bernard Schwartz Book Award in 2012.

He is currently a member of the (Myanmar) National Economic and Social Advisory Council, a Special Advisor to the Myanmar Peace Centre, the Chairman of the Yangon Heritage Trust and the Vice-Chairman of the World Economic Forum's South East Asia Council. He divides his time between Yangon (Rangoon) and Bangkok.

He was named by Foreign Policy magazine as one of the "100 Leading Global Thinkers" of 2013.

Product Description

Review

'Confident and enthralling discussion.' --John Keay, Literary Review

'Thant writes compellingly about how both India and China have changed their attitudes towards the military junta ... [he is] an idiosyncratic cultural historian. ... the book possesses a heartfelt and welcome optimism, giving voice to a desire for connections that exceeds all notions of foreign policy, geopolitics or business and becomes, instead, about people encountering each other in all their glorious difference.' --Siddhartha Deb, Guardian

Thant Myint-U ... is in a perfect position to comment on the past, present and future of a country whose fate in intertwined with its boisterous neighbours, and he does so in this fascinating book with skill and rare insight.' --Oxford Times

Book Description

Where China Meets India is Thant Myint-U's vivid, searching, and timely book about the strategic centrality of Burma, where Asia's two rising giant powers - China and India - appear to be vying for supremacy.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Miss Cathryn Symons on 29 Aug. 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I went to Burma once, taking one of those slightly illicit border crossings while trekking in Mae Hong Son, Northern Thailand. Carefully and safely guided hrough different villages of 'hill tribe' people, it felt more like a steamy and exhausting museum tour than a real journey. It's impossible to know what you're seeing in 3 days, when you don't know the language and are a bit overwhelmed by it all.

Thant Myint U is Burmese, and speaks some Chinese and some Tibetan too, so his travels through that wild, uncharted area between Burma, China and India are full of the people he meets and the conversations he has, while he tries to work out what's going on and how the rise of China and India as economic superpowers affects and, is affected by, the lands he's travelling in.

What will happen when there's motorway and high speed rail all the way from Beijing through Kunming to Rangoon, and perhaps from Delhi too? Will the west have any relevance at all? Will Burma become a province of China, or will it manage to use India as a balance?

I'm not sure that Thant Myint U really answers these questions, and perhaps its just too early to tell, but he gives a fascinating travelogue of the area, its historic links to China and India, and a light insight into the geopolitics around it.

Worth buying in the kindle edition, though perhaps not quite at the hardback price.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A.H. Lin on 14 Feb. 2013
Format: Paperback
Thant Myint-U's new book is wonderfully written in a similar style as his last book, The River of Lost Foot Steps. I especially enjoyed Thant's style of storytelling on history of Burma -- nestled in a larger geopolitical and economic context of the period and relating back to the present day through his personal travel observations. His ability to connect the dots -- how current situations linked with historical events and how Burma's past was intertwined with more familiar European, Asian, and maritime history -- accentuated how Burma was and has always been inextricably coupled to the globalization phenomena despite today's popular perception of isolation. His account of anthropological and linguistic ties between Burmese and its neighbors and conquerors provoked me to rethink about their influence on modern day Burmese culture and language. Thant was able to capture the essence of Burmese people, intricacies of Burmese history, and the complexity of Burma's relationships with its neighbors. He brought to life sights, sounds, and smells of Yangon, Mandalay, Maymyo, Shwedagon Pagoda, Irrawaddy river, etc..
This is not your father's history book. I appreciated Thant's ability to weave morsels of human interest stories such as Colonel Henry Morshead's mysterious murder in Maymyo and to shed light on some of very little known facts like how Herbert Hoover made his fortune through mining in Burma. So, for those who already knew a lot about Burma, this is a good book for thinking about the linkages between the present and the past and various possibilities and opportunities for Burma as the neighboring two giants rise to the global scene.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Acorn on 18 Aug. 2012
Format: Hardcover
Historian Thant Myint-U is the author of The River of Lost Footsteps (2006), in my view the best introduction to Myanmar's sad history and why its despotic military rulers are so driven by xenophobia and delusion. In this new book, Myint-U looks at Myanmar in a broader regional context and asks how it might prosper, nestled as it is between the large emerging powers of India and China. The question has particular relevance for Myanmar, but it is also one that faces the other countries of mainland south-east Asia, and ASEAN as a regional bloc.

Part One of the book looks at the historical background, sweeping quickly over ancient times and focusing very much on the European colonial period and its impact on the diversity of people and networks in the region. We tend to forget how today's populations are often the outcome of peculiar theories on the part of colonial administrators and the cold, commercial imperatives of colonial enterprises. It is sobering to see how much of a rich traffic in people and ideas was lost with the advent of modern borders.

The middle section of the book takes us to the borderlands with China and shows how towns and communities there are dealing with the size and dominance of Chinese production and marketing. Chinese ascendancy in many parts of northern and north-western Myanmar resembles patterns in northern Laos and northern Thailand, if more advanced. Myint-U's account is full of interesting details but tends towards the descriptive and, at times, nostalgic. I wanted to learn more about the coping strategies of these border peoples and how they manipulate the new cultural divide. There are some hints, but I was left feeling hungry.

The third section of the book moves to the other border - with India.
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Format: Paperback
A good book about the 'crossroads of asia', easy to read history of the whole region and an eye opener to the casual observer of modern Myanmar and how its (seemingly) forward thinking president is mirroring the actions of Chinese premier Deng Xiaoping albeit 30 years later.
The author is a native of Burma and a historian, he travelled around Myanmar's bordering countries 20 years ago and returns to see how things are shaping up for his homeland and the region in general for the 21st century. The style reminds me of Bill Bryson(perhaps not the wit but it is a more serious subject), interweaving local history, characters, and the weird experiences from any travel, and each chapter ends leading into the next town/subject.
His experience in china is what you might expect, fast-changing, high-growth, modern buildings but the bordering Yunan province is relatively poor compared with china's east coast mega cities. India's Burma border areas are very poor, under-developed and increasingly dangerous. Burma is in the middle. There is excellent background to why all is this is true and coverage of the other countries in the region, mostly Thailand but also Tibet, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia.
Interestingly, there is a an Epilogue AND a Afterword, showing how fast things are changing in the world of Myanmar politics.
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