Top positive review
A comprehensive insight into Burmese history up to the modern era.
13 July 2013
I chose this book particularly because it was written by someone Burmese; I wanted not just the details of Burmese history but also the element of Burmese perspective. This author fits the bill particularly well being a western educated academic as well as having family connections close to the significant figures of the 20th century era. British colonialism is dealt with in a remarkably pragmatic way; it would be impossible not to have some criticism of the capitalist machinery which so dominated South East Asian countries over such a long period of time. Colonial history in this region of the world has left its indelible mark on all of the societies it eventually left behind; not to confront it would be a failure to understand anything of the current day situation or what needs to be done in the future. The majority of the book covers the internal politics of ancient and modern Burma and the complex makeup of its peoples together with its relationship with its neighbours; both factors have had a significant impact on the difficult path Burma has found itself on.
Overall the book is a gripping read (although a little hard to follow in places) and has some amusing stories that at least partly offset the feelings created by tragic events that have occurred in this country's unfolding history.