The Hidden History of Burma: A Crisis of Race and Capitalism (Hardback)
  • The Hidden History of Burma: A Crisis of Race and Capitalism (Hardback)
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The Hidden History of Burma: A Crisis of Race and Capitalism (Hardback)

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£18.99
Hardback 304 Pages / Published: 16/01/2020
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A Foreign Affairs Best Book of 2020

A New York Times Critic's Pick 2019

'
A sobering account, told elegantly and eruditely.' Financial Times

'Thant Myint-U is the greatest living historian of Burma.' William Dalrymple


Precariously positioned between China and India, Burma's population has suffered dictatorship, natural disaster and the dark legacies of colonial rule. But when decades of military dictatorship finally ended and internationally beloved Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi emerged from long years of house arrest, hopes soared. World leaders including Barack Obama ushered in waves of international support. Progress seemed inevitable.

As historian, former diplomat, and presidential advisor, Thant Myint-U saw the cracks forming. In this insider's diagnosis of a country at a breaking point, he dissects how a singularly predatory economic system, fast-rising inequality, disintegrating state institutions, the impact of new social media, the rise of China next door, climate change and deep-seated feelings around race, religion and national identity all came together to challenge the incipient democracy. Interracial violence soared and a horrific exodus of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees fixed international attention. Thant Myint-U explains how and why this happened, and details an unsettling prognosis for the future.

Burma is today a fragile stage for nearly all the world's problems. Are democracy and an economy that genuinely serves all its people possible in Burma? In clear and urgent prose, Thant Myint-U explores this question - a concern not just for the Burmese but for the rest of the world - warning of the possible collapse of this nation of 55 million while suggesting a fresh agenda for change.

'A compelling account of modern Burma's bloody history' Amitav Ghosh

Publisher: Atlantic Books
ISBN: 9781786497871
Number of pages: 304
Weight: 625 g
Dimensions: 240 x 165 x 30 mm
Edition: Main


MEDIA REVIEWS
A sobering account, told elegantly and eruditely [...] The Hidden History of Burma should become a guiding reference work for how we view the new Myanmar. * Financial Times *
Compelling, bleakly fascinating... Myint-U offers a humane analysis as he reflects on national identity and the dangers of nationalism. * Independent *
Thant Myint-U is a writer with a humane sensibility and a delicate yet pointed touch... Learned yet also intimate, The Hidden History of Burma is an urgent book about a heavy subject. * New York Times *
Thant Myint-U's most impressive title to date, featuring anecdotes from the author's own extraordinary life. * Wall Street Journal *
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 *
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
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 *
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 *
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 *
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) *
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 *
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 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 *
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 *
This superb book will help anyone who wants to understand Burma's fascinating and fraught recent history, but it is about much more than that - it provides a microcosm of the forces shaping twenty-first century politics, from democratisation to neoliberalism to climate change. An essential guide to the world we are in. * David Runciman *
Splendid.... As lively as any personal tour. * Inside Story *

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