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Burma Book News 1
Book News
Brief notes on some books concerning Burma that have appeared in the last year or so.
The most recent notes are at the top.
Oct 98
Lines from a Shining Land
Edited by Derek Brooke-Wavell

Britain-Burma Society (UK)
Britain Burma Society Books,
40, Kidmore Road, Reading, RG4 7LU, UK
220 pages
ISBN 0 9534054 0 0

Something a little bit different from the Britain Burma Society in this its publishing debut:
Lines from a Shining Land. See special feature Thanks to the Society's non-political constitution, the current chapter of Burma's story remains untouched - but there have been many other chapters of extraordinary diversity this century, and few other bodies outside Burma with such intimate knowledge of them. 33 Society members tell Burma's story from their own personal experiences, from about 1910 to 1987. Writers share a love of Burma - everything else about them is different! Lavishly illustrated.
A travelogue which includes fictionalised characters and personal stories, by the author of the best-selling Stalin's Nose. It attempts to depict real life in present-day Burma, and that includes politics. See Review.
JULY 98:
Under the Dragon
by Rory MacLean

UK: HarperCollins Publishers,
77-85 Fulham Palace Road,
Hammersmith, London W6 8JB .
Hard back - 16.99
(230 pp)
May 98:
Inroads into Burma -
A Travellers' Anthology
by Gerry Abbott

Malaysia: Oxford in Asia
Penerbit Fajar Bakti Sdn. Bhd. (008974-T)
4 Jalan Pemaju U1/15, Seksyen U1
Hicom-Glenmarie Industrial Park
41050 Shah Alam, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malayasia
Tel: 03-7047011
ISBN: 983-56-0034-1
UK Price: 14.00.
Intended for tourists, academics and students alike. The anthology contains travellers' accounts covering four centuries of Burmese history, many of them taken from rare documents or books that are difficult to come by.

322 pages.
The English/Burmese booklet of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's talk "Heavenly Abodes and Human Development". She had been commissioned to write this as the 1997 Pope Paul VI Memorial Lecture, and it was delivered in London by her husband, Michael Aris. This is Daw Aung San Suu Kyi talking Buddhism to Catholics - at their request; Cardinal Basil Hume was there to introduce the lecture.
NOV 97:
Heavenly Abodes and Human Development
by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
Obtainable from
CAFOD Supporter Services
+44 171 733 7900
The Vanishing Tribes of Burma

by Richard K Diran
Edited by Gillian Cribb

With ethnography from Martin Smith
40.00 from Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Orion House, 5, Upper St Martin's Lane
London WC2H 9EA
(+44) 171 240 3444
fax (+44) 171 240 4823
The Vanishing Tribes of Burma contains a stunning collection of 200 colour photographs of some of Burma's best-known ethnic groups. This is a big book - 12 inches by 10 - and a landmark. Would make an ideal Christmas present for somebody, if you can afford it.
This brief new biography is designed for US teenagers.
OCT 97:
Aung San Suu Kyi -
Fearless Voice of Burma

by Whitney Stewart

Lerner, Minneapolis

SEPT 97:

The Journal of Burma Studies

(inaugural issue)

Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL 60115.

$12.00 [plus $5.00 air mail]
The long-awaited first issue is now available, with a lot of meaty and well-informed articles by academics on aspects of Burmese history and culture. The first study, by Andrew Huxley, is on the Dhammathats: pre-colonial compilations of ethical and legal material, in Pali or Burmese, that are a speciality of his.
Apparently their current neglect is a pity; for they show the Burmese civilisation to have had a stronger legal framework than any other country between Japan and the Middle East.
Another article is by BB Society's own erstwhile hon sec, Anna Allott - who encapsulates a whole segment of modern Buddhist history through the output of one trend-setting publishing house in Mandalay since 1938.
A fast-moving novel for the mass market.
Ruby, the heroine, is born on page one, to a European father and Burmese mother. It was not a good time for mixed marriages. The novel follows her extended Eurasian family through some difficult and exciting times, from the 1920s to a variety of involvement in World War Two.
OCT 96:
Burma Ruby
by Stanley Barden
United Writers Publications Ltd,
Castle Gate,
Cornwall TR20 8BG

The Political Ecology of Forestry in Burma 1824-1994

by Raymond Bryant

(Lecturer in Geography,
King's College, London)

40.00, Hurst & Co, London

This book charts the chequered history of Burma's valuable forests - and their guardian, the Forest Department. Before the Department's setting up in 1856, timber traders fought each other for control of rapidly diminishing teak forests. After that the Forest Department tightly controlled access to hardwood forests - but caused howls of protest from peasants and shifting cultivators. Foretry conservation continued after 1948 - but the civil war limited the Forest Department's own access to some of the most valuable regions. The cessation of conflict in many areas has allowed conservation to continue - but there is the threat of deforestation as Burma attempts to catch up with it neighbours. (DBW)
Flowing from a conference at St Anthony's College, Oxford, shortly after the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, this is a collection of papers by leading academics and Burma specialists covering some of the key economic, ethnic, political and social problems which currently confront Burma. Articles have been updated, and the introduction by Peter Carey is new. Foreword by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. (DBW)
JULY 97:
Burma - The Challenge of Change in a Divided Society
edited by
Peter Carey
(Laithwaite Fellow and tutor in Modern History, Trinity College, Oxford)
UK: Macmillan Press Ltd; USA: St Martin's Press, Inc, NY.
Hard back -45.00 (280 pp)
Nov 96
Back to Mandalay:
Burmese Life, Past and Present
Myanmar: Land of the Spirit

Abbeville Press (UK =John Murray):42

On sale in SE Asia: $60

Two differently-titled and angled versions of the same thing.
Weighty coffee-table books, with over 450 colour photographs, to accompany the start of "Visit Myanmar Year". Attributions seem misleading. The UK version is advertised as by 'Norman Lewis et al.', with photos by 'top international photographers' Bruno Barbey, Steve McCurry at al. However, in fact the book includes 8 short essays by different authors, the last of which is by Norman Lewis, based entirely upon his 1952 book Golden Earth. And most of the excellent photos are by Tim Hall, and by Barry Broman who works for the U.S. Embassy in Rangoon. (AJA)
A new edition of this book as the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Bo-gyoke Aung San approaches. It incorporates additional material and photographs. The book is based on eye-witness accounts, gives a graphic account of the tragic events of July 19th 1947, and discusses the many questions that still remain to be answered. (AJA)
OCT 96:
Who Killed Aung San?

by U Khin Oung

White Lotus in Bangkok (GPO Box 1141, Bangkok 10501): $22.50
SEPT 96:
On the Road to Mandalay:
Tales of Ordinary People

by Mya Than Tint

Bk: White Orchid Press, 487/42 Soi Wattanasilp, Pratunam,

Tel: 662 253 3009 ($23)
UK: Lavis Marketing, 73 Lime Walk Oxford, OX3 7AD
Tel:01865 67575;13.95 +p&p1.62

I (AJA) urge anyone who is planning a visit soon to try to get hold of this new book, published in Bangkok. From it you will learn more about life in Burma than from any guidebook. The portraits first appeared in Burmese in Kalya monthly magazine from 1987 to 1991 and were much enjoyed by local readers. They have been excellently translated by Ohnmar Khin - the pen-name of an English person- and Sein Kyaw Hlaing and amusingly illustrated by Win Pe. Thirty-five different people tell their life story - usually hard, sometimes tragic, often surprising - to the author who meets them as he travels up and down the country giving literary talks. Mya Than Tint's brief account of his own life is a fitting start to this fascinating book (284pp).(AJA) Review
At a time when the constitutional role of the army in the future government of Burma is slowly being shaped by the National Convention, this important new book provides detailed background information on all aspects of the recent rapid expansion that has taken place in Burma's military forces. "Since 1988 the Tatmadaw has almost doubled in size and acquired a wide range of new arms and equipment, mostly from China." A most valuable feature of the the copious footnote references to journal and newpaper articles. The author, a former member of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs, now works for the Department of Defence.
MAY 96:
Transforming the Tatmadaw:
The Burmese Armed Forces since 1988
by Andrew Selth
One of a series (CP113) published by the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre of the Australian National University, Canberra ACT 0200,

Fax (06) 2480816 ($A 23.00+$A 5.00p&p)

JAN 96:
Lonely Planet Travel Survival Kit- Myanmar (Burma)


The sixth edition is double the size of the previous one, and is now the fullest and most up-to-date guide book to the country. It includes over 40 maps, detailed sections on Pagan and Mrauk-U, a fuller language section including names in Burmese script, a useful guide to literature on Burma, notes on customs and social etiquette, and much more. (AJA)
"A graphic account of the challenges of running a mine in a turbulent area of Burma both before and after the war"; "filled with riveting anecdotes"; "an account of the tragedy of Burma's economic decline". For further details and how to obtain this work, ask Anna Allott.
Mawchi: Mining, War and Insurgency in Burma

by L.A. Crozier

Published in Australia