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The Hidden History of Burma

A Crisis of Race and Capitalism

Thant Myint-U

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Atlantic Books
04 February 2020
History; Asian history; 21st century history: from c 2000 -
Six years ago, Burma seemed to be in the midst of a miraculous transformation, from the darkest of dictatorships to a peaceful liberal democracy. Yet, today, it stands accused of ethnic cleansing and genocide and the international image of Aung San Suu Kyi appears tarnished beyond repair.

Based on in-depth and exclusive interviews with many of those directly involved in the transition from dictatorship, and on his own personal involvement in the peace process, Thant Myint-U reveals what has really taken place in Burma this century and how the truth is far more interesting, and far more complex, than the simple morality tales that are usually told.
By:   Thant Myint-U
Imprint:   Atlantic Books
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Edition:   Export/Airside
Dimensions:   Height: 235mm,  Width: 157mm,  Spine: 23mm
Weight:   425g
ISBN:   9781786497888
ISBN 10:   1786497883
Pages:   304
Publication Date:   04 February 2020
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Thant Myint-U is a historian, writer, a past fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, a former adviser to the President of Myanmar and the founder and chairman of the Yangon Heritage Trust. He is the author of four books, including The River of Lost Footsteps and Where China Meets India.

Reviews for The Hidden History of Burma: A Crisis of Race and Capitalism

A fascinating read. An acute yet empathetic telling of the historical roots and present causes of the tortuous course that Burma's democratization and integration into the world has taken in this century. India and China loom large in these pages, alongside Burma's internal faultlines of ethnicity. Written by a most knowledgeable and accomplished historian, this book is essential reading. * Shivshankar Menon, former Foreign Secretary of India * Thant Myint-U is the one indispensable author on Burma. This is an accessible, understated but powerful story of modern Burma's journey from hope to tragedy. Thant combines insider knowledge with an admirably objective assessment to tell the story of a nation whose promise has been subverted by political betrayal, ethnic conflict and economic folly. A well-written narrative that dwells on important themes of authoritarianism and identity. * Pratap Mehta * An excellent contemporary history of Burma from an author who is both an empathetic insider as well as an objective witness to the momentous changes taking place in his country. Thant Myint-U unpacks the ancient fault lines which burn with renewed ferocity even as the country struggles to deliver on the promise of renewal through democracy and find its place in a world which has few familiar anchors left. The Hidden History of Burma uncovers trends which run beyond its borders. * Shyam Saran, former Foreign Secretary of India * Thant Myint-U deftly weaves together factors as diverse as nationalism, capitalism, geopolitics and social media into a clear-eyed analysis of Burma's troubled past and present. An essential read for anyone who wants to understand Burma and the challenges it must face in the coming decades. * Kishore Mahbubani, author of Has the West Lost It?A Provocation * Thant's bird's-eye view, long-term scholarship, and deep connection to Burma and its people make for a captivating and engrossing account of a country shifting precariously between possibility and destruction. * Booklist (starred review) * The book on Burma I've been waiting to read - a riveting behind-the-scenes account of the country's political and social transition over recent years, a brave unravelling of well-worn myths, and an urgent plea to imagine a new story and better future for Burma. * Emma Larkin, author of Finding George Orwell in Burma * Few countries are as complex-or fascinating-as modern-day Burma. In these pages, Thant Myint-U explains the country's 15-year transformation from military junta to peaceful democracy to divided and fractured post-crisis country. A must-read book, not just for those interested in Burma, but for those interested in those broader questions of race, national identity and democracy in our 21st century world. * Ian Bremmer, author of Us vs. Them: The Failure of Globalism * At once absorbing, illuminating, and humane, Thant Myint-U's work traces the complex gearings of race, identity, and money with the perspective of a scholar and the intimacy of an insider. It's invaluable in helping us understand the complexities not just of contemporary Burma but of our postcolonial world. * Kwame Anthony Appiah, author of The Lies that Bind: Rethinking Identity * Thant Myint-U is the greatest living historian of Burma. Brave, balanced and truthful, he is also witty and blessed with an enviable lightness of touch, yet sophisticated enough to make the most wide-ranging connections. A profoundly humane and ethical historian, his meditations on national identity, plurality, forgotten ethnicities and the dangers of hyper-nationalism are both wise and thoughtful. The Hidden History of Burma should be read for the pleasure of the author's prose, but it is also vital background reading to anyone trying to understand the Rohingya crisis or wrestling with the complexities of modern South or South East Asia. -- William Dalrymple A compelling account of modern Burma's bloody history, by a leading historian who happened to have an inside view during the transition from military rule and the religious and ethnic violence that followed. * Amitav Ghosh *


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