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Book News

This is the long-awaited book about Vernon Donnison by his son, Britain-Burma member Professor David Donnison. Not only Vernon's immediate family but other members of the clan at very different levels of the colonial establishment, chart Burma's history from a personal as well as state perspective. Written from extensive diaries.
Sep 2005
Last of the Guardians
by David Donnison
Publisher Newtown: Superscript.
369 pages, map, illustrations, bibliography.
ISBN: 0954291395
NB: a REVIEW by Patricia Herbert
Great Tey to Rangoon -
a Farmer's Story

by Roger Browning
PB £7.75 + £1 p&p
from Roger Browning
Great Tey
CO6 1JE.
An autobiography by an engineer who organized giant machines to build roads & bridges for soldiers in the Forgotten War. Several chapters on Burma, but the pre-war rural scene in the UK is almost as interesting.

NB: a REVIEW by Lewis Shaw, who also served as an engineer officer in the same campaign.

The story of the author's epic trudge out of Burma through the Hukawng Valley in 1942. Though the whole family made the trek, he was the only survivor. Later he finds his own 'Maymyo' in New South Wales.
Oct 2001
White Butterflies
by Colin McPhedran
Publisher Pandanus Books,
The Australian National University,
Available (paperback) from Amazon, University of Hawaii $17.00
ISBN: 1740760174
NB: a REVIEW by Noel Holmes
Burma - The Forgotten War
by Jon Latimer
610 pp, 32 illustrations, 125 maps
HB £25.00
Published by John Murray
ISBN 0 7195 6375 8
NB: a REVIEW by John McEnery

This is not the first book detailing the progress of the war in Burma from 1941 to 1945, but it brings a great many new sources. Jon Latimer's latest account of every significant military operation in the war is unlikely to be surpassed in the future.

A gorgeous, richly-illustrated coffee-table book that provides an introduction to a number of textile traditions and also explores textiles in particular contexts. It has articles by all the top people in the field - including a number of Britain-Burma Society experts.
Textiles from Burma
edited by Elizabeth Dell
and Sandra Dudley
192 pages, map, illustrations, glossary, bibliography
ISBN: 0 85667 569 5.
London: Philip Wilson Publishers, in association with
The James Green Centre for World Art, Brighton.
£29.95 From the Green Centre
NB: a REVIEW by Patricia Herbert
Kelly's Burma Campaign -
Letters from the Chin Hills

by Desmond Kelly
367 pp, 64 illustrations
HB £20.00 (plus £4.00 UK postage)
Published by Tiddim Press,
PO Box 28958,
London SW14 8XE
ISBN: 0-9540238-1-1
This is the long-awaited creation of one of the Society's loyal members, Dr Desmond Kelly. Dr Kelly's father Norman stayed on in Burma in 1942 at a time when the Japanese were beating all comers, and organized resistance in the Chin Hills. Until the end of the war he stayed in Burma, harrying the Japanese and holding up their advance.
NB - REVIEW by John McEnery

More than half of the 300,000 Japanese soldiers who fought in Burma died there. Here are 64 tales translated from Japanese of scared young men fighting in a far land, trying to do their duty while short of food and ammunition, winnowed by disease as well as bullets. An even more forgotten side of the Forgotten War.
Oct 2001
Tales by Japanese Soldiers
of the Burma Campaign 1942-45

by Kazuo Tamayama &
John Nunnerly
252pp from Cassell Military
PB £6.99
ISBN: 0304359785
Theravada Buddhism in Burma
by Niharranjan Ray
ISBN 974-8299-87-2
From Orchid Books (Thailand)
or Kodansha (UK)
NB - 25% discount from Kodansha for Britain-Burma Society members.

A pioneering study, first published in 1946 and still said to be the most comprehensive to date, of the history of Theravada Buddhism in Burma, based on epigraphic, archaeological and literary sources. This influential book, together with the next two, are republished to mark the centenary of this Indian scholar's birth.

First published in 1936 and now republished together with the other two works by this Indian scholar. A monograph on the influence of Mahayana, Tantric and other northern Buddhist schools on early Burmese Buddhist traditions. Draws on archaeological and other evidence.
Sanskrit Buddhism in Burma
by Niharranjan Ray
ISBN 974-8299-81-3
From Orchid Books (Thailand)
or Kodansha (UK)
NB - 25% discount from Kodansha for Britain-Burma Society members.
Brahmanical Gods of Burma
by Niharranjan Ray
109 pp, 30 plates
ISBN 974-8299-30-9
From Orchid Books (Thailand)
or Kodansha (UK)
NB - 25% discount from Kodansha for Britain-Burma Society members.

First published in 1932 and republished on the centenary of this great Indian scholar's death. A study of the Hindu elements in ancient Burmese religion, based on the analysis of extant religious sculpture and images on cast coinage.

Having taken her cat Claudius round the USA, the young authoress circuits Burma too, for a good laugh and a new cat, it seems. Too frivolous for people who know Burma well - but a young relative might enjoy it.
Of Cats and Kings
by Clare de Vries
HB £12.99
Published by Bloomsbury
ISBN: 0747558094
Autumn 2001
Our Trip to Burmah
by Charles Alexander Gordon
278 pp, over 30 photos
ISBN 974-524-002-8
$23.00 - £12.99
From Orchid Books (Thailand)
or Kodansha (UK)
NB - 25% discount from Kodansha for Britain-Burma Society members.

The diary of the Surgeon-General of the British forces in Madras who spent three weeks in Burma in 1874-75. Observations of Burmese life and customs, plus notes on history, peoples, government, religion, festivals etc.

Every Burmese month has a poem, a flower and an introduction to festivals, myths, religious customs, agriculture etc, described with wit and spirit by Khin Myo Chit.
Festivals and Flowers of the
Twelve Burmese Seasons

by Khin Myo Chit
with paintings by Paw Oo Thet
ISBN 974-8299-56-2
54 colour plates, 132pp
8 inches square
HB - £19.00
From Orchid Books (Thailand)
or Kodansha (UK)
NB - 25% discount from Kodansha for Britain-Burma Society members.
From the Land of Green Ghosts
by Pascal Khoo Thwe
HB: £17.00
ISBN: 0007116810

Pascal Khoo-Thwe spoke to the Britain-Burma Society on this subject in May 1996. From Padaung village boy to Mandalay waiter to refugee to Cambridge undergraduate - an eventful and fascinating story, not least for its accounts of Padaung life, full of ancient beliefs and customs in addition to the Padaungs' official Roman Catholicism.

Not a novel, not political - this really is a book about the mineral, jade, and its history. Describes the authors' quest in Burma for the legendary 'Lost Valley of Capelan' - supposed to be a city built of jade - and what they actually found.
Jan 2002:
The Stone of Heaven:
Unearthing the Secret History
of Imperial Green Jade

by Adrian Levy and Cathy Scott-Clark Little, Brown and Co (US)
ISBN: 0316525960
PB $24.95 (£17.52)
Obtainable on Amazon for £7.19.
Feb 2002:
Welcome to Burma and
Enjoy the Totalitarian Experience

by Timothy Syrota
ISBN: 974-524-008-7
PB - £15.00
From Orchid Books (Thailand)
or Kodansha (UK)
NB - 25% discount from Kodansha for Britain-Burma Society members.

Another tourist malgré lui who hates the government, loves the people, and tries to get beneath the surface of modern Burma.

Martaban, now known as a Gulf and a town near Moulmein, was once a province. Abreu, a forester, was one of the first to visit Martaban and Pegu and give an account of them after their acquisition by the British Empire. Plentiful details of trees, flora and fauna.
Feb 2002:
Journal of a Tour through
Pegu and Martaban Provinces

by Robert Abreu
(first published 1858)
ISBN: 974-5240-00-1
PB - £12.99
From Orchid Books (Thailand)
or Kodansha (UK)
NB - 25% discount from Kodansha for Britain-Burma Society members.
Oct 2001
Buddhist Stupas in Asia:
The Shape of Perfection

Publisher: Lonely Planet
ISBN: 1864501200
176 pp / 275 maps
Hundreds of photos
$34.99 - £24.99

It covers stupas from Afghanistan to Japan, but has quite a bit on Burma and Thailand. Many excellent photographs and ground plans. It looks like a coffee-table book but is more academic than most: historical development, names of the pats, references to Buddhist texts etc.

A new, completely revised and updated edition of this classic. Lavishly illustrated, it relates the history and techniques of lacquer making in Burma, and describes a range of lacquerware objects.
Burmese Lacquerware
by Sylvia Fraser-Lu

222 pages, 361 colour plates, 19 bw plates
Nearly 9 inches square (237mm x 225mm)
ISBN 974-8304-83-3: HB - £39
ISBN 974-8304-83-5: PB - £29
From Orchid Books (Thailand)
or Kodansha (UK)
NB - 25% discount from Kodansha for Britain-Burma Society members.
Jan 2002
The Trouser People
by Andrew Marshall
HB: £14.95 Published by Viking
ISBN: 0670892378
NB - Britain-Burma Society members special discount price: £13 inc. UK postage from:
The Bookshop Partnership,
Offer # BSP017,
PO Box 35,
HR6 9YH.
The Trouser People is subtitled The Quest For The Victorian Footballer Who Made Burma Play The Empire's Game.
Sir George Scott - alias Shway Yoe - must be Burma's best-known 19th Century Brit. He explored, wrote about and ruled hitherto uncharted places and peoples. And he brought football to Burma! The 'trouser people' (baung bi) in the title were the Brits. Andrew Marshall follows in Scott's footsteps.
Publisher / Distributor Addresses:
Orchid Press
P.O. BOX 19
Yuttitham Post Office
Bangkok 10907
Tel: +66 (2) 930 0149
Kodansha Europe Ltd,
Tavern Qy Community Centre,
Rope Street,
SE16 7TX,
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7740 2770
Britain-Burma Society members:
Kodansha offers a 25%
discount on Orchid books.