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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An extraordinary book by Burma's most astute and passionate observer, 5 Jun 2013
This review is from: Brave New Burma (Hardcover)
A year ago, when hopes were so high that Burma had shaken off its dictatorial past, "Brave New Burma" could have been dismissed as a record of a gratefully forgotten era. But today, with Burma enduring religious unrest and intractable poverty, and with the military still calling many of the shots, Nic Dunlop's book feels prescient and haunting. It is a critical, heartfelt and beautifully shot journey through the recent history of a troubled but remarkable country. Post-junta Burma is presented as the essential destination for tourists, backpackers, business people, diplomats and NGO workers. "Brave New Burma" is the essential book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A view of the people, not just the politics, 11 Jun 2013
This review is from: Brave New Burma (Hardcover)
I recently got a chance to look at journalist Nic Dunlop's new photo book - Brave New Burma. Nic is the man who "found" Comrade Duch in 1999, one of the most notorious executioners of the Khmer Rouge regime under Pol Pot, and then wrote a book about the experience, published in 2005. A book that I will add is immensely readable being perfectly pitched between a travel journal about a search, a biography of Comrade Duch, and an insight into the lives of ordinary Cambodians during the period 1975-9.
This book as been a couple of decades in the collecting, the photos are what you'd expect of an award winning photo journalist. However, the book isn't just photos, there is a story to tell of how Mr Dunlop has seen Burma change in 20 years, taking us from the early 90s right up to December 2012 with all the publicity around Aung Sun Suu Kyi. There is a memorable quote about two thirds of the way through of a Burmese lady lamenting that she is not allowed to be in one place for any length of time. "Tell me" (I paraphrase) "Where is my home, then?" Poignant stuff.
The book is nicely put together, a history written around photos in the best narrative style. Casually informative, yet also with hard questions (and, at times, no answers), it shows Burma through a twenty year lens that is sometimes grimy, sometimes startlingly clear. Like any art form this book allows you to let your consciousness feel uneasy, feel inquisitive, feel concerned. We cannot sympathise, but we try to empathise with what we see through the windows Mr Dunlop has let us peer whilst he guides the reader across a history that seems overly sombre, yet has flashes of a daily life that you can delight in.
Readers of this latest portrayal of Burma will be varied: from those who know next to nothing about the country and its people, to the overly-opinionated NGOs who are mired in the experience and emotion of it all. However you may read this, one thing is clear...it is thought-provoking, it is a different view of Burma away from the usual CNN/BBC driven narrative. A street level view, a view of the people rather than the politics. Fascinating in every sense.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inside the machine that ran Burma, 29 Jan 2014
This review is from: Brave New Burma (Hardcover)
Most attempts at documenting the half-century of military rule in Burma have largely focused on the results of that rule, namely the people. Partly because of difficulties of access, and partly due to a tendency among journalists to home in on the 'victims', few have struck out to really understand the psyche of the Burmese junta - the shape it took, the colossal reach it had (and still has) over society there. That mission has formed a large part of Nic's work in the two decades since he began photographing Burma and its border regions. The result is a unique and compelling insight into the machine that ran Burma for much of the post-WW2 era, aided by the rare access he gained to the top generals at a time when foreign journalists were persona non grata.

The subject matter however is one thing; Nic's ability to capture in his images the majesty of the land and its people, and the starkness of the conditions they endured for too long, is where the true value of the book lies - something that becomes ever more important as concerns build over the role the military will play in a supposedly reforming dictatorship, and whether Burma's "past" is really that.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and timely study, 1 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Brave New Burma (Hardcover)
This excellent new study on Burma comes at an important time. As ever Dunlop succeeds in humanising the country through the stories of its ordinary people. A view from the bottom 'looking up' which is his great talent. Thoroughly recommended for anyone interested in Burma, or S E Asia in general, or indeed what occurs when democracy fails.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Commited, intelligent, wonderful body work., 15 Jan 2014
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J. Tanner "Jason" (Wales, UK.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Brave New Burma (Hardcover)
Nicks commitement to documenting life in Burma and elsewhere in SE Asia is beyond compare. A wonderfully talented artist and storyteller, his book is testament to a 20 year commitment to understanding a complex, fascinating and alluring corner of the world.

Wonderfull documentary (and iconic) images combined with intelligent text make this an insightful, must read for anyone with an interest in photography and/or Burma.

Highly recommended!
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Brave New Burma
Brave New Burma by Nic Dunlop (Hardcover - 1 May 2013)
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