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Book Reviews and Announcements

Websites/Multiple Documents

Title: REVIEWS AND NOTES, SBBR 4.2
Date of publication: September 2006
Description/subject: Gerry Abbott: Rod(g)ers: A Brief Addendum... Yang Li: The House of Yang: Guardians of an Unknown Frontier (William Clarence Smith)... Monique Skidmore: Karaoke Fascism: Burma and the Politics of Fear (Alicia Turner)... Emma Larkin, Secret Histories: Finding Orwell in a Burmese Teashop (Atsuko Naono)... Russ Christensen & Sann Kyaw, The Pa-O: Rebels and Refugees (Gerry Abbott)
Language: English
Source/publisher: SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research 4.2 (Autumn 2006)
Format/size: pdf (174K)
Alternate URLs: http://web.archive.org/web/20071010121234/web.soas.ac.uk/burma/4_2.htm
Date of entry/update: 03 October 2010


Individual Documents

Title: Military matters in Myanmar (Reviews by Bertil Lintner of books by Renaud Egreteau, Larry Jagan and by Yoshihiro Nakanishi)
Date of publication: 20 September 2013
Description/subject: "Soldiers and Diplomacy in Burma: Understanding the Foreign Relations of the Burmese Praetorian State" by Renaud Egreteau and Larry Jagan and "Strong Soldiers, Failed Revolution: The State and Military in Burma, 1962-1988" by Yoshihiro Nakanishi....."Myanmar's most powerful institution, the military, has managed to retreat into the background and largely avoid the scrutiny of foreign analysts and experts who have focused on the country's supposed transition to democratic rule, the need for constitutional change and a flawed peace process aimed at bringing various ethnic insurgent groups that have fought for decades for autonomy under the government's control. Two new books should help fill this analytical gap. Soldiers and Diplomacy in Burma: Understanding the Foreign Relations of the Burmese Praetorian State is a study of the role of the military in Myanmar's foreign policy by French academic Renaud Egreteau and Anglo-Australian freelance journalist Larry Jagan. Strong Soldiers, Failed Revolution: The State and Military in Burma, 1962-1988 is a detailed account of military politics in broad context by Japanese Southeast Asia scholar Yoshihiro Nakanishi...."
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Asia Times Online"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 27 May 2014


Title: The Man in the Iron Mask (Review by David Scott Mathieson of Benedict Rogers' "Than Shwe. Unmasking Burma’s Tyrant"
Date of publication: September 2010
Description/subject: Burma’s reclusive despot remains mysterious even after reading this first biographical attempt... "Since he rose to power in 1992 as the head of the then State Law and Order Restoration Council, Snr-Gen Than Shwe’s life has been a maze of rumor, conjecture and lies about his career, private life, rationale for repressive rule and personal motivations. British activist Benedict Rogers has produced a book that fuels the mythology of Than Shwe, but adds very little to his biography..."
Author/creator: David Scott Mathieson
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 18, No. 9
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 22 July 2012


Title: An Eye in the Storm
Date of publication: May 2010
Description/subject: An American journalist recaptures the turmoil in the Irrawaddy delta following Cyclone Nargis... "All too often, fact in Burma is stranger than fiction. Everything is Broken: A Tale of Catastrophe in Burma, by Emma Larkin. Penguin Press, 2010. P 288. Emma Larkin, a pseudonym for an American journalist based in Bangkok, knows this all too well. Her first book, “Finding George Orwell in Burma,” compares modern Burmese political history to Orwell’s dystopian novels. Burma’s rulers consistently outperformed Orwell’s fictional characters in terms of sheer brutality and oppression. However, not even Orwell could have envisioned the incompetence and callousness of the Burmese military government’s initial response to Cyclone Nargis in May 2008. While Burmese villagers struggled to survive, the military blocked foreign aid and held a constitutional referendum. For her new book, “Everything is Broken: A Tale of Catastrophe in Burma,” Larkin relies upon interviews and field research in order to narrate the story of Burma’s worst natural disaster...The second part of the book summarizes recent Burmese history, from the governmental move to Naypyidaw to the Saffron Revolution. Burma watchers can probably skim over this section..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 18, No. 5
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 29 August 2010


Title: Blackboard Memories - review by Jim Andrews of "The Shan: Refugees Without a Camp", by Bernice Koehler Johnson.
Date of publication: March 2010
Description/subject: A teacher finds fulfillment at a school for young Shan refugees... "Bernice Koehler Johnson discovered Burma and its problems late in life. The American teacher was nearly 70 when she applied for a job teaching Shan refugees in Thailand..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 18, No. 3
Format/size: html
Alternate URLs: http://www2.irrawaddy.org/print_article.php?art_id=17933
Date of entry/update: 17 March 2010


Title: The State and statism in Burma (Myanmar) - Review by Don Seekins of "The State in Myanmar." by Bob Taylor
Date of publication: December 2009
Description/subject: "...the fundamental problem with "The State in Myanmar" is not its pro-regime bias but its focus on the State, with a capital ‘S’. In his Introduction, Taylor writes that: “…in the approach taken in this volume, it is the interaction of the official state and non-official institutions that is being examined, and it is argued that, to judge from the evidence, most of the time it is the state which is expected to be, and is, the determining partner in such relationships. In this sense the state, through ‘its continuous administrative, legal, bureaucratic and coercive systems’, shapes the relationship between itself and civil society, but also shapes the structure of ‘many crucial relationships within civil society as well.” The state is thus normally able to determine what is a political issue and what is not capable of political solution, as it limits the growth of institutions that can express official or private political opinions and options. (pp.4-5) From this perspective, based on the ‘fact’ of state power, Taylor slips over to a normative position very close to that of the 20th century German jurist Carl Schmitt, who said that the state is the embodiment of the ‘political unity of the people.’..."..... Taylor, Robert H. 2009. The State in Myanmar. London: Hurst and Company, xxv + 555 pages. ISBN 978 1 85065 893
Author/creator: Donald M. Seekins
Language: English
Source/publisher: International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) Leiden -- Newsletter Winter 2009
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 16 October 2010


Title: "Myanmar Meanderings" -- a review by David Scott Mathieson of Robert Taylor's "The State in Myanmar"
Date of publication: August 2009
Description/subject: "In the aftermath of the 1988 uprising in Burma, a new generation of military autocrats decided a makeover was in order. The rebranding of the Union of Burma into the Union of Myanmar in 1989 was as much to confuse memory in the wake of the mass killings of protestors by the army as it was to stamp a new look on the repression that had occurred since 1962. One of the military government's leading chroniclers is the academic Robert Taylor, whose landmark book "The State in Burma" was released in 1987 and gets its own rebranding in the updated "The State in Myanmar" by Robert H. Taylor. National University of Singapore Press, 2009. P 540... Taylor has been widely maligned for his conclusions in the first book, whose final paragraph declares "for better or worse the state is accepted as inevitable" and that despite dissatisfaction amongst many Burmese with the ruling Burma Socialist Program Party, its disastrous economic management and reclusive foreign affairs, the system itself was in more or less sound shape. This was repudiated not just by the popular uprising that rocked Burma several months after the book's release, but by the architects of the socialist system itself. They included Burma's strong man Ne Win, who admitted not just to the system's unpopularity but also to its unsustainability under modern conditions. The socialist system was swept away and multi-party democratic elections promised. The disagreements created by "The State in Burma"shouldn't necessarily detract from its sweep of Burmese political history, at the time unprecedented since the work of the colonial scholar J S Furnivall..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 17, No. 5
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 26 December 2009


Title: Escape from Fear: Review by Jim Andrews of "No Time for Dreams. Living in Burma under Military Rule, by Carolyn Wakeman and San San Tin
Date of publication: July 2009
Description/subject: NO Time for Dreams. Living in Burma under Military Rule, by Carolyn Wakeman and San San Tin. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., Lanham, Maryland, 2009. P 195... A Burmese journalist’s long journey to professional freedom
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 17, No. 4
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 11 August 2009


Title: Never Say Die: Review of "Little Daughter: A Memoir of Survival in Burma and the West" by Zoya Phan and Damien Lewis
Date of publication: June 2009
Description/subject: "Little Daughter: A Memoir of Survival in Burma and the West" by Zoya Phan and Damien Lewis; Simon & Schuster, 2009. P 355... A prominent new voice in the world of Burma activism tells a timely tale of survival and determination
Author/creator: Neil Lawrence
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 17, No. 3
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 24 June 2009


Title: A Small, Finely Drawn Picture (review by Edith Mirante of "Burma Chronicles" by Guy Delisle)
Date of publication: December 2008
Description/subject: "...His most telling insights about Burma, come in the tiniest frames. Although determinedly small in scope, the book takes on layers of themes: expat life, tourist impressions, political commentary and the role of international NGOs...Like other foreign visitors, Delisle is fascinated by the many antiquated and quirky elements of Burmese life: a Morse code key still in use, long ropes with clips hanging from apartment windows for hoisting up packages, reliance on bank ledgers and WWII-era fire trucks. He gets classic nonpolitical laughs from his Thinggyan soaking and the sudden onset of the monsoon...On a last neighborhood walk with his son, Delisle happens on a Ferris wheel of the low-tech Burmese type, being turned by one athletic longyi-clad man. It is a remarkable Buddhist image of the wheel of life and a most human symbol of Burma, so much effort for so little change—around and around it goes..."
Author/creator: Edith Mirante
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 16, No. 12
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 22 December 2008


Title: BOOK REVIEWS in SBBR 6
Date of publication: December 2008
Description/subject: Donald M. Seekins: "Burma and Japan Since 1940: From Co-Prosperity to Quiet Dialogue", (Edmund Clipton)... Emmanuel Guillon. "Parlons Mon (Homeri Moun Co): Langue et Civilization", (Jon Fernquest)... Mikael Gravers, ed. "Exploring Ethnic Diversity in Burma", (William Womack).
Language: English
Source/publisher: SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research 6, 2008
Format/size: pdf (4.3MB, 316K)
Date of entry/update: 03 October 2010


Title: Burma's Ethnic Jigsaw Puzzle
Date of publication: October 2008
Description/subject: "A new study on ethnic politics in Burma surveys a bewildering field and points the way forward...Whereas Smith's book was about conflict and ethnic identity, and Lintner's about conflict, state building and narcotics, Ashley South explores all these topics and then looks at contemporary debates on development and forced displacement, with a more academic discussion of shifting "identities" in Burma. Given the sheer range and depth of all these issues, South overviews them skillfully. The purpose of the book is to inject greater complexity and detail into the debates over ethnic politics: the role of resurgent civil society in ethnic ceasefire areas and the cities of Burma; the ethnic groups' constrained participation in the military government's national convention; and the uneven performance of local development projects. With a timely epilogue taking into account the effects of Cyclone Nargis, South suggests there are now opportunities in Burma for meaningful participation in national politics for Burma's long-suffering and splintered ethnic nationalities if they pursue a considerable strategic rethink -- what South calls "review, reform and re-engage..."
Author/creator: Review by David Mathieson of Ashley South's "Ethnic Politics in Burma: States of Conflict"
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 16, No. 10
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 14 November 2008


Title: Getting beyond image to reality in Burma (Myanmar) -- a review of Helen James's. "Security and Sustainable Development in Myanmar".
Date of publication: November 2007
Description/subject: Review of: James, Helen. 2006. Security and Sustainable Development in Myanmar. Abington, UK: Routledge, xvi + 321 pages. ISBN 0 415 35559 1 (hbk), ISBN 0 203 00198 2 (ebk)... Written as a companion volume to her Governance and Civil Society in Myanmar: Education, Health and Environment, published in 2005, Helen James’s Security and Sustainable Development in Myanmar asks: Why can’t Burma (Myanmar) be treated as a ‘normal’ Third World country with serious social, economic and human rights problems but also the potential, given international assistance, to gradually evolve into a country that provides its people with enhanced ‘human’ security, high standards of living and a vibrant civil society as its South-East and East Asian neighbours have done over the past two or three decades?
Author/creator: Donald Seekins
Language: English
Source/publisher: International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) (Newsletter 45)
Format/size: pdf (310K)
Date of entry/update: 07 March 2009


Title: A Half-Stocked Marketplace of Ideas - a review of "Myanmar: State, Society and Ethnicity" by N. Ganesan and Kyaw Yin Hlaing
Date of publication: July 2007
Description/subject: N. Ganesan and Kyaw Yin Hlaing, Myanmar: State, Society and Ethincity, Insitute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore, and Hiroshima Peace Institue Japan, US $24.99.... Scholars provide little more than table scraps in a new academic collection o­n Burma... "It is a mark of modern academia, more than the state of Burma, that many scholarly collected works o­n the country are about as substantial as a glass of ye-sa (water boiled with rice), and not the full, lavish feast of erudition that the country should be able to produce. N. Ganesan and Kyaw Yin Hlaing’s new edited collection, Myanmar: State, Society and Ethnicity, lamentably joins this parsimonious table. It gives basic nourishment but fails to excite the intellectual senses,. The product of workshops at the Hiroshima Peace Institute in 2005, these collected papers, with some notable and commendable exceptions, join a stack of edited volumes that promise insight but deliver the same tired arguments, borrowed research and bland summations..."
Author/creator: David Scott Mathieson
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 15, No. 7
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 May 2008


Title: Deeper Truths (Review of Win Pe's "Barafi and Other Stories")
Date of publication: January 2007
Description/subject: Master storyteller Win Pe uses the framework of everyday life in Burma as a foundation for exploring the darker side of human nature...
Author/creator: Khin Maung Soe
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 15, No. 1
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 26 July 2008


Title: Superstition, Rumor and Gun Law - review of "Burma at the Turn of the 21st Century" Ed. Monique Skidmore
Date of publication: July 2006
Description/subject: "An academic study of Burma proves to be long on humorous anecdotes, but short of real political analysis..."Burma at the Turn of the 21st Century" purports to be “the first collection of essays about everyday life in Burma in forty years”, which is a mild exaggeration. Aung San Suu Kyi herself has written a book called Let’s Visit Burma, which covers most aspects of everyday life in the country. But this new book may be the first written by academics, mainly anthropologists, and, therefore, includes chapters about esoteric subjects like lottery-ticket numerology, the question of masculinity in Mandalay, and a detailed description of the Taungbyon spirit festival, including maps of the fair grounds..."
Author/creator: Bertil Lintner
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 14, No. 7
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 01 May 2007


Title: The Year of Living Degenerately (review of "Land of a Thousand Eyes" by Peter Olszewski)
Date of publication: June 2006
Description/subject: An Australian journalist revels in the pleasures open to foreigners living in the “hardship posting” of Rangoon... Land of a Thousand Eyes: The subtle pleasures of everyday life in Myanmar, by Peter Olszewski, Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 2005. P253... "I finally figured out what the Burmese military propaganda tag “internal destructive element” really is. It’s an Australian journalist. Peter Olszewski’s memoirs, Land of a Thousand Eyes, is an account of how a western expatriate wallowed for a year in the privileged lifestyle enjoyed by the elite who cling round an authoritarian political system. Olszewski, a former editor of Australian Playboy, founder of the Australian Marijuana Party, and a self-styled Gonzo rock journalist, moves through the expatriate and local elites scene of Rangoon with the moral immunity enjoyed by many foreigners who frivolously retain their freedoms at the expense of a people largely deprived of rights..."
Author/creator: David Scott Mathieson
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 14, No. 6
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 29 December 2006


Title: Fictional Travel in Real Burma (Review of Amy Tan's "Saving Fish from Drowning")
Date of publication: May 2006
Description/subject: A touch of Alice in Wonderland pervades this surreal journey through the horrors of military-ruled Burma... "Saving Fish from Drowning" by Amy Tan. Putnam, New York, 2005. P472... "Amy Tan (The Joy Luck Club, The Bonesetter’s Daughter) has written a seemingly light comic novel with real political weight. Saving Fish from Drowning (a title that comes from a Buddhist self-justification for eating fish) might not be to everyone’s taste, but those who stick with it will find the author’s good intentions shining through. The tour group has been a narrative inspiration dating back to Canterbury Tales and Journey to the West. Tan uses the misadventures of a fictional group of travelers as her framework for revealing Burma’s real-life agony..."
Author/creator: Edith Mirante
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 14, No. 5
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 28 December 2006


Title: The Divisions Within
Date of publication: April 2006
Description/subject: "Ethnic divides continue to cause friction in Southeast Asian countries -- Ethnic Conflicts in Southeast Asia, edited by Kusuma Snitwongse and W Scott Thomson. The Institute of Security and International Studies, Bangkok, and the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore; 2006. P173." Includes comment on Tin Maung Maung Than's Burma chapter.
Author/creator: Reviewed by Bertil Lintner
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 14, No. 4
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 28 December 2006


Title: Mae Sot under the Microscope
Date of publication: February 2006
Description/subject: Australian journalist looks closely at life in a Thai border town... "Restless Souls. Refugees, Mercenaries, Medics and Misfits on the Thai Burma Border, by Phil Thornton, Asia Books, Bangkok; 2005. P240 Borders everywhere attract their fair share of humanitarians, traders, mercenaries, messiahs, opportunists and loons. The beautiful, rugged and long-suffering Burma-Thailand frontier region seems to have exceeded its quota of all of them some time ago, and the Thai border town of Mae Sot is now clogged with foreigners existing as a sort of parallel species to Thai, Burmese, Karen and Muslim inhabitants. Such is its fascination as the entrepôt for trade, refugees, drugs and conflict over the border that Mae Sot and its surroundings represent a microcosm of the deep malaise of Burma. Phil Thornton is an Australian journalist who has lived in Mae Sot for more than five years, working with a range of Karen groups and collecting stories of everyday survival. Restless Souls is a painfully authentic tour through the lives of ordinary people living in a zone of low-intensity conflict in the world’s longest and most ignored civil war, the 58-year struggle of the Karen people against the Burmese military..."
Author/creator: David Scott Mathieson
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 14, No.2
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 01 May 2006


Title: The Frontierslady: Review of Edith Mirante's "Down the Rat Hole"
Date of publication: April 2005
Description/subject: "...A female author’s exciting, but ugly account of her travels in Burma’s border areas... Down the Rat Hole, which, like Burmese Looking Glass, is beautifully written. It is also outright exciting because she really does go through one adventure after another. She was trapped in a cyclone in Bangladesh while interviewing refugees from Burma. She sneaked into Kachin State from China with her hair dyed black and disguised as a Muslim woman. She traveled to Manipur, a restricted area in India’s northeast, as member of a “bona fide tour group”—but that was only an excuse to get into an area riddled with ethnic strife, drug abuse, and AIDS. She crossed the Mekong river into Burma’s Shan State from Laos, and everywhere documented forced labor, rape and torture. But Down the Rat Hole also reflects her disappointment with some of the rebel groups she once had felt so close to..."
Author/creator: Bertil Lintner
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irawaddy" Vol. 13, No. 4
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 27 April 2006


Title: Book Reviews, SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research, Spring 2005
Date of publication: March 2005
Description/subject: Review by Patricia M. Herbert of Mary P. Callahan's "Making Enemies: War and State Building in Burma".(Ithaca & London, 2002; Cornell University Press. 2003)...Review by Jacob John Rigg of Julian Thompson's "The Imperial War Museum Book of the War in Burma 1942-1945" (London 2003).
Author/creator: Patricia M. Herbert, Jacob John Rigg
Language: English
Source/publisher: SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research, Vol. 3, No. 1, Spring 2005
Format/size: pdf (37K)
Alternate URLs: http://web.archive.org/web/20070102014547/web.soas.ac.uk/burma/3_1.htm
Date of entry/update: 03 October 2010


Title: The Burma Campaign and Beyond - review of Jon Latimer's "Burma, The Forgotten War"
Date of publication: January 2005
Description/subject: "...Jon Latimer’s study is worth reading, not because his heroes are “unsung”, as he puts it, but as an authoritative and comprehensive study of the Burma campaign. He chronicles the British defeat, the ensuing stalemate, and then the eventual victory over the Japanese in minute detail. It is also beautifully written. Latimer, who served for many years with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, then as a military intelligence officer, is the author of several other books about World War Two. For this book he drew from wartime records in Washington, London, Edinburgh, and the Gurkha Museum in Winchester, and interviews with survivors of the conflict..."
Author/creator: Bertil Lintner
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 13, No. 1
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 10 August 2005


Title: Reading Tea Leaves: Review of Secret Histories. Finding George Orwell in a Burmese Teashop, by Emma Larkin
Date of publication: November 2004
Description/subject: By searching for George Orwell’s past, Emma Larkin reveals his relevance to Burma’s present... Review of Secret Histories. Finding George Orwell in a Burmese Teashop, by Emma Larkin. John Murray, London: 2004: 232 pp. "It’s not a bad way to spend one’s time, becoming a habitu้ of teashops, chatting to other bibliophiles, intellectuals, students, and the occasional nasty official. These unique spaces of Burmese life are the primary sources for Emma Larkin’s rich new book, Secret Histories, as she follows the trail of George Orwell’s time in colonial Burma..."
Author/creator: David Scott Mathieson
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 12, No. 10
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 31 January 2005


Title: Announcement: Translation of the Rajadhammasangaha online
Date of publication: 20 September 2004
Description/subject: Euan Bagshawe has made a translation of the Yaw Mingyi U Hpo Hlaing (the Wetmasut Myoza Wungyi)’s “Rajadhammasangaha,” edited by Maung Htin (U Htin Fatt), published in 1979 by Sape U Publishing House (the original text was composed in December 1878 and published for the first time about 1915). This has recently been republished (2002) by Unity Press and is currently available in some bookshops in Burma/Myanmar for 1100 kyats (as of December 2003). The translation can be accessed in David Arnott’s Online Burma/Myanmar Library at: http://www.ibiblio.org/obl/docs/THE_RAJADHAMMASANGAHA.pdf ... The Online Burma/Myanmar Library also has a description of the text which includes some of the bibliographic information included above. The translator has kindly sent us a copy of his preface for inclusion here... M. W. C.
Author/creator: Euan Bagshawe (translator)
Language: English
Source/publisher: SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research, Vol. 2, No. 2, Autumn 2004
Format/size: pdf (28K)
Alternate URLs: http://web.archive.org/web/20070612024156/web.soas.ac.uk/burma/2_2.htm
Date of entry/update: 25 September 2004


Title: News and Notes from SBBR Vol 2, No. 2, Autumn 2004
Date of publication: 20 September 2004
Description/subject: New Electronic Economics Serial on Burma: Burma Economic Watch, a centre in the Economic Department of MacQuarie University in Australia, has launched a new pdf journal that seeks to provide current and accurate information on the Burmese economy... Advanced Publication of SBBR 3.1: The forthcoming issue of SBBR (3.1) scheduled for Spring 2005, will be published ahead of schedule in mid- to late- September 2004...
Language: English
Source/publisher: SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research, Vol. 2, No. 2, Autumn 2004
Format/size: pdf (12K)
Alternate URLs: http://web.archive.org/web/20070612024156/web.soas.ac.uk/burma/2_2.htm
Date of entry/update: 25 September 2004


Title: SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research Book Reviews, Autumn 2004
Date of publication: 20 September 2004
Description/subject: Victor Lieberman's "Strange Parallels: Southeast Asia in Global Context, c. 800- 1830. Volume I: Integration on the Mainland". Review by F. K. L. Chit Hlaing ... Grant Evans's "A Short History of Laos: The Land in Between", Review by John Walsh ... David K. Wyatt's "Thailand: A Short History" (2nd edition). Review by Jon Fernquist.
Author/creator: F. K. L. Chit Hlaing, John Walsh, Jon Fernquist
Language: English
Source/publisher: SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research, Vol. 2, No. 2, Autumn 2004
Format/size: pdf (37K)
Alternate URLs: http://web.archive.org/web/20070612024156/web.soas.ac.uk/burma/2_2.htm
Date of entry/update: 25 September 2004


Title: SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research Book Reviews, Spring 2004
Date of publication: 20 March 2004
Description/subject: ANGELENE NAW. Aung San and the Struggle for Burmese Independence. Reviewed by WILLIAM H. FREDERICK... PARIMAL GHOSH. Brave Men of the Hills: Resistance and Rebellion in Burma, 1825-1932. Reviewed by ALYSSA PHILLIPS... STEINBERG, DAVID I. Burma: The State of Myanmar. Reviewed by JÖRG SCHENDEL... ANTHONY WEBSTER. Gentlemen Capitalists: British Imperialism in South East Asia 1770-1890. Reviewed by STEPHEN LEE KECK.
Language: English
Source/publisher: SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research, Vol. 2, No. 1, Spring 2004,
Format/size: pdf (38K)
Alternate URLs: http://web.archive.org/web/20070612024114/web.soas.ac.uk/burma/vol__ii,_no__1.htm
Date of entry/update: 03 October 2010


Title: Would You Go Camping With This Man? - Review of Mike Tucker's "The Long Patrol"
Date of publication: March 2004
Description/subject: Mike Tucker went on a short patrol with Karen insurgents, and got lost... Amid the flourishing published work on Burma—travelogues, memoirs, academic analysis and large and detailed NGO reports—Mike Tucker’s new book is a real standout. The Long Patrol is clearly the worst of the bunch. What is promoted as a "refreshing, overdue" book is nothing but a manual of male vanity written by an obnoxious tourist...The book reads like an advertisement for Viagra in Soldier of Fortune..."
Author/creator: David Scott Mathieson
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 12, No. 2
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 09 June 2004


Title: Thunder Over Burma - Review of Donovan Webster’s "The Burma Road: The Epic Story of the China-Burma-India Theater in World War II"
Date of publication: December 2003
Description/subject: "A compelling tale of one of the most fascinating theaters of World War Two falls short by excluding the voices of those in Burma who experienced the tragedy... The Burma Road, a legendary feat of World War Two, was forged across rugged terrain to serve as a supply route for China when its ports were cut off by Japanese invaders. Eventually it connected to the Ledo Road, linking China to India. That story would be interesting enough, but Donovan Webster’s new book, The Burma Road: The Epic Story of the China-Burma-India Theater in World War II [Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003], is by no means just about the Burma Road. It aims to be a concise history of the entire China-Burma-India, or CBI, theater of operations. Webster has produced a clearly composed portable military history book, although for more depth and scope I would recommend Lewis Allen’s definitive work, Burma: The Longest War 1941-1945...Burma today is still embroiled in World War Two in many ways, with slave labor and human wave assaults as common as jeep taxis. The land link between India and China continues to be a source of trouble as a conduit for heroin and timber. Webster briefly describes the present day Burma/Ledo Road, but his fellow Outside magazine writer Mark Jenkins offers a far more revealing (and harrowing) glimpse of the way things are now with "The Ghost Road" in the October 2003 issue of Outside."
Author/creator: Edith Mirante
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 11, No 10
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 14 February 2004


Title: SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research, Book Reviews, Autumn 2003
Date of publication: 20 September 2003
Description/subject: CHRISTINA FINK. 2001. Living Silence: Burma Under Military Rule. Reviewed by NETINA TAN CHIEW PHENG... ROBERT I. ROTBERG (ed): Burma - Prospects for a Democratic Future. Reviewed by MIKAEL GRAVERS... GUSTAAF HOUTMAN. 1999. Mental Culture in Burmese Crisis Politics: Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy. Reviewed by TILMAN FRASCH.
Author/creator: NETINA TAN CHIEW PHENG, MIKAEL GRAVERS, TILMAN FRASCH
Language: English
Source/publisher: SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research, Vol. 1, No. 2, Autumn 2003
Format/size: pdf (42K)
Alternate URLs: http://web.archive.org/web/20070609092430/web.soas.ac.uk/burma/vol__i,_no__2.htm
Date of entry/update: 03 October 2010


Title: The March of Folly (review of Andrew Selth's "Power without Glory")
Date of publication: September 2003
Description/subject: A Burma scholar traverses the history of Burma’s armed forces, its reasons for expansion and the complications facing the country’s most dominant institution... The Burma Army possibly has the worst press in Asia. Vilified as a regime of inept thugs who cosy up to drug dealers, whose foot soldiers perpetrate murder and rape on a major scale, who flesh out their ranks with children and waste money on planes that don’t fly at the expense of health and education, it would be hard to make them look good. Andrew Selth, the preeminent expert on the Burmese armed forces, the Tatmadaw, doesn’t attempt to improve their image, but he does provide the reader with a more in-depth perspective on this much-maligned organization. His book, Burma’s Armed Forces: Power Without Glory, provides a detailed study of the Tatmadaw, its dramatic expansion during the 1990s, and the ideological and practical impulses for its repressive behavior. It represents the most serious and erudite analysis of the Tatmadaw since its formation in the 1940s.
Author/creator: David Scott Mathieson
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 11, No. 7
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 06 November 2003


Title: West Meets East (review of Daniel Mason's "The Piano Tuner")
Date of publication: July 2003
Description/subject: "The Piano Tuner is an admirable debut novel rich with technical detail and a sense of place, but its heavy romanticism and implausible premise strike a sour note... For writers of fiction who find their inspiration in "exotic" climes, the crucial question presents itself immediately: Who are my characters in this delicious landscape, and what are they doing here? In The Piano Tuner, first-time novelist Daniel Mason takes an inspired leap into 19th century Burma by sending Edgar Drake, English piano tuner, into the jungles of Shan State to help Dr Anthony Carroll repair a damaged Erard Grand piano. The doctor is making peace treaties with the Shan princes through his compelling diplomatic use of Western music and poetry. Does this sound far-fetched? Well, it is..."
Author/creator: Karen Connelly
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol 11, No. 6
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 06 November 2003


Title: War, History and Identity (a review of Ashley South's "The Golden Sheldrake")
Date of publication: April 2003
Description/subject: "A new book on the Mon ethnic group makes a much-needed contribution to the study of Mon history and sheds light on some of the complexities of Burma’s ethnic conflicts... Although ethnic conflict is a key issue in modern Burmese politics, few writers and researchers seem to have covered the topic in detail. Ashley South’s latest book, Mon Nationalism and Civil War in Burma: The Goldensheldrake (Routledge Curzon, 2002), is perhaps the first comprehensive study of Mon history and offers a timely contribution to the issue of Burma’s ongoing ethnic conflicts... South’s detailed and authoritative book is a must for all interested in Mon history and ethnic minority politics, and for those curious about the dynamics of the civil war and conflict that has raged in Burma for more than 50 years..."
Author/creator: Tom Kramer
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 11, No. 3
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: May 2003


Title: SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research Book Reviews Spring 2003
Date of publication: 20 March 2003
Description/subject: THANT MYINT-U. "The Making of Modern Burma". Reviewed by MARILYN LONGMUIR... ROBERT H. TAYLOR (ed.). "Burma: Political Economy Under Military Rule". Reviewed by JÖRG SCHENDEL
Author/creator: MARILYN LONGMUIR, JÖRG SCHENDEL
Language: English
Source/publisher: SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research, Vol. 1, No., 1, Spring 2003
Format/size: pdf (64.1 K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.archive.org/details/BookReviewsFromSoasBulletinOfBurmaResearch1.1spring2003
Date of entry/update: 07 January 2011


Title: Pascal Khoo Thwe and the Book of Memory
Date of publication: March 2003
Description/subject: "This astonishing autobiography details one young Padaung man’s upbringing in a remote village and his long journey through conflict-ridden Burma, all the way to freedom... From the Land of Green Ghosts: A Burmese Odyssey [Harper Collins, 2002] by Pascal Khoo Thwe is the Burma book I’ve been waiting for. An indigenous work of memory which captures exactly the magic—good and bad—that is always evident in Burma. This book emerges from a rich culture and a revolutionary movement. Depicting the life-trajectory of a young man in the 1988 diaspora, Green Ghosts is an intricate kalaga (tapestry) sewn with portraits of elders and comrades, with pleasures and tragedies..." Review by Edith Mirante
Author/creator: Edith Mirante
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 11, No. 2
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003