For who want to understand the politics and recent history of Burma, this is by far one of the best books you could buy. Unlike almost every other book on Burma, it looks at the country as a whole, not just from the perspective of events in Rangoon.
This book covers the main historical events in Burma. The human rights abuses by successive dictatorships are chronicled, as is the brave struggle of the people of Burma to rid themselves of dictatorship. But what makes this book different is the focus and detail on the many different ethnic people in Burma, and on their history and their own struggle for freedom. For the many different ethnic groups in Burma, their experience of repressive dictatorships has been different, and their resistance has taken different paths as well.
Throughout the book, events are brought to life through the powerful personal stories of activists interviewed by the author.
This book isn't stodgy or too academic; it's easy to read yet still comprehensive.
If you want an introduction to Burma, you couldn't do better than buying this book.