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

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber (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: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 392,705 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


'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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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Thant Myint -U is very knowledgeable about the history of Burma and weaves this together with the present and looking to the future. His travel stories are interesting and easy to read.
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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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4 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Cdl on 27 Sep 2011
Format: Hardcover
Mr Thant Myin U should be ashamed

His own articles regarding "where China meets India" that were published in British newspapers and translated notably in French are simply appalling.

Mr That Myn U, Burmese teacher in Cambridge, makes his aforementioned articles transparent to the Burmese struggle.

He makes no mention whatsoever of the 2000+ political prisoners in Burma, he makes no mention of how these prisoners are treated and that nobody gets to hear from most of them in and/or outside Burma.

He makes no mention whatsoever of inhumane crimes still perpetrated in Kayin, Kachin, Shan and other states by the Junta's army.

He makes no mention whatsoever of the thousands of Burmese forced labour to build dams all across the country only to serve the profit of China and a few other western companies who blindly and carelessly pays the Burmese junta.

He should be ashamed living in a western country as a Burmese intelligentsia skipping those important matters.

Where today Yangon and more largely Burmese citizens are afraid of naming their dictators names, where they are even more afraid of pronouncing publicly the name of Aung San Suu Kyi !

Where the pavements in suburban areas or country sides are built hand by hand and brick by brick by women ! and last but not least where the new "academical" generation dreams of Malaysia, not of China or India they can hardly see a new so called "global : where China meets India" era occurring any time in the near future. Where is the globalisation here ? except perhaps for the Junta and their cronies !

Im appalled and saddened by this book and its promotional articles
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 6 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
One of the best book on Burma contemporary history 28 Oct 2012
By Khun Panot - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book gave me a very good information on Myanmar history and her role as a link between two powerful civilizations, China and India. As a historian, Thant Myint-U first explained Burma's history then presented the current situation, followed by various possible directions Myanmar can choose in the near future. If you want to truly understand about this country and her increasingly important role in the region, I strongly recommend this book.
The living story of a country reborn 20 Aug 2014
By Archie Bayvel - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There’s not much one can do with a book after you’ve read it. Its resale value is negligible, giving it away even less rewarding, and one rarely encounters a table with one leg a book shorter than the rest.
The alternative with this volume is to put it in your bag, chuck in a few clothes then catch a plane to Yangon. Within a day you’ll be roaming a land of mile-wide rivers, ramshackle highways, and dirt mountain roads through what’s left of the once impenetrable Burma jungle.
Except, of course, that it’s not the “Burma” jungle anymore. Everyone except author Thant Myint-U now calls the country Myanmar and its biggest city – once known as Rangoon – is now Yangon. He says these are not really new names but simply the Burmese-language version of the old names. As Roma is to Rome and Warszawa to Warsaw, so he sticks to Burma and Rangoon. It’s his book after all and he can call them what he damn-well likes. Just as this is my review and I’m calling them Myanmar and Yangon!
What you will actually see in Burma/Myanmar is still a far cry from much of what Thant Myint-U predicted when he wrote this book. What was barely discernible in 2011 is now staring you in the face and Myanmar, long a jungle and mountain-strewn barrier between the civilisations of The East, is visibly becoming the new crossroads of Asia.
It links the world’s biggest communist nation, China, with its biggest democracy, India; gives China a port on the Indian Ocean; even opens dreams of a Eurasian land-bridge from Shanghai to Rotterdam.
In his view the West has missed the boat, or its launch at least, as Myanmar emerges from almost 100 years of stagnation. Its economic and cultural place has instead been seized by China and to a lesser extent by India.
To see all the wonders Thant Myint-U details you’d need to travel freelance to places conventional tourists can’t even dream about. The fabled township of Mong-La, for instance in the heart of the so called Golden Triangle; once the centre of the world’s drug trade and today one of the world’s biggest on-line gambling hubs with not a poppy to be seen.
That can’t be true, one thinks. Never heard of the place! Precisely. Myanmar is choc-full of things Westerners have never heard of, far less seen. It is a phenomenon of The East. The mysterious East of which Thant Myint-U writes as only a Burmese born in America, educated at Harvard and Cambridge can write. His book is a best-seller in Myanmar and won worldwide recognition, helped no doubt by the fact that U Thant, the famous UN Secretary-General, was his grandfather and that he is currently a close adviser to Myanmar’s President Thein Sein.
Myint–U sees Myanmar’s location between China and India as its trump card with only in-fighting between Myanmar’s various warlords and Western interference being an obstacle. He couldn’t have known this when he first wrote When China Meets India but only three months ago a great conference of all the dissidents signed an agreement to settle their differences.
Now all the country needs is a George Washington and an Abraham Lincoln and the Union of Myanmar will be truly united. Come to think of it, they’ve already had their Washington in General Aung San, father of The Lady and of Myanmar itself. He was assassinated for his pains but their current President Thein Sein is fitting into the Lincoln mould beyond anyone’s dreams.
The book sees Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and their neighbours as a country in itself rather than a motley of nations. And Chindia - China and India - he says are destined to reshape world politics and rock European conceits that they and America are all that matter.
Just as intriguing is his insight on The Lady, Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s famous Nobel Peace laureate who has sacrificed most of her life to bring democracy and peace to her land. Almost everything she fought for has been won. That includes her release from house arrest, a freedom that Myint hints she doesn’t quite know what to do with.
It’s not often one gets to know a country being re-born as you read, but this story is exactly that.
Burma's rapid growth and implications for its future are uncertain 14 Oct 2014
By konn - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An in depth and informative history of Burma and its relations with China and India. It is well written and easy to follow the historical events and implications in the future setting that we see Burma in now. This book is valuable to anyone with a research program, development work or keen interest in this part of Asia. Now that Burma is opening up and tourists are piling in it will be crucial to understand what the implications of rapid development will have on Burma - this book is the basis for that understanding.
"Where China Meets India" by Thant Myint-U 2 Mar 2013
By Judith K. Binney - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Where China Meets India" by Thant Myint-U is a wonderfully written book about a fascinating part of the world that most Westerners, I imagine, don't know very well. Thant Myint-U tells us the history of the people, places and intersections of China, Burma and Northeast India-- how they have related over the past 2000 years -- and how they may relate in the future. An enlightening book and a pleasure to read!
Judith Binney
New York, NY
If you are interested in Burmas most recent history it is a good read 7 Oct 2014
By Kaja Aalhus - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It gave very good picture of the relationship between Burma and China, specially the border between them. It was also very well written.
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