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5.0 out of 5 stars very informative
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.
Published 9 months ago by Amazon Customer

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Burma's more important than you think
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...
Published on 29 Aug 2011 by Miss Cathryn Symons


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Burma's more important than you think, 29 Aug 2011
By 
Miss Cathryn Symons (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Where China Meets India: Burma and the New Crossroads of Asia (Kindle Edition)
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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5.0 out of 5 stars very informative, 5 July 2013
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This review is from: Where China Meets India: Burma and the New Crossroads of Asia (Kindle Edition)
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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4.0 out of 5 stars Myanmar at a crossroads, 18 Aug 2012
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. Whereas the Chinese province of Yunnan on the eastern side of Myanmar is strongly integrated into the Chinese state, the north-east of India is fractured by separatism, poor communications and a diversity of cultures that the Indian state has failed to manage well. The geography of the border here is such that interaction appears far weaker than on the Chinese side. There is some discussion of Bangladesh, but given the cross-border tensions regarding Muslim communities in Myanmar and the influence of these conflicts on international relations well down into southern Thailand and Malaysia, more analysis of the links with Bangladesh would have been welcome.

Myanmar's undoubted potential, squandered over decades by incompetent military rulers, has long been a topic of academic and journalistic discussion. Myint-U adds more in-depth and personal observations to this body of work, but there are no simple answers from his side. Given his earlier work, I was expecting some exposition of the principles on which Myanmar might negotiate with the two giants that squeeze it from either side like two fat suitors with roaming hands in a darkened cinema. But in the end the book raises more questions than it answers. Perhaps that was the author's intent.

The recent froth and bubble over elections and a `new dawn for democracy' in Myanmar will ensure that international focus on the country continues to grow. The US and its minions are likely to increase their presence and we will see aid programmes, foreign investment and tourism all increase. This will please other countries in ASEAN who have long been embarrassed by Myanmar's behaviour, despite their public support. But will they be so pleased when Myanmar begins to prosper, enriching its own people rather than exporting them as cheap illegal labour to its ASEAN neighbours?

There will be many repercussions from the changes under way in Myanmar. Thant Myint-U's works are an invaluable asset in understanding this country, and I would recommend reading The River of Lost Footsteps in addition to this newer book in order to get a well-rounded picture.
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4 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Shameful, 27 Sep 2011
By 
Cdl "CDL" - See all my reviews
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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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