What do we really know about Burma and its history? And what can Burma's past tell us about its present and even its future? For nearly two decades Western governments and a growing activist community have been frustrated in their attempts to bring about a freer and more democratic Burma--through sanctions and tourist boycotts--only to see an apparent slide toward even harsher dictatorship.
Now Thant Myint-U tells the story of modern Burma, and the story of his own family, in an interwoven narrative that is by turns lyrical, dramatic, and deeply affecting. Through his prominent family's stories and those of others, he portrays Burma's rise and decline in the modern world, from the time of Portuguese pirates and renegade Mughal princes through a sixty-year civil war that continues today--the longest-running war anywhere in the world.
The River of Lost Footsteps is a work at once personal and global, a "brisk, vivid history" (Philip Delves Broughton, The Wall Street Journal) that makes Burma accessible and enthralling.
A true tale of high adventure in the South Seas.
The tiny island of Run is an insignificant speck in the Indonesian archipelago. Just two miles long and half a mile wide, it is remote, tranquil, and, these days, largely ignored.
Yet 370 years ago, Run's harvest of nutmeg (a pound of which yielded a 3,200 percent profit by the time it arrived in England) turned it into the most lucrative of the Spice Islands, precipitating a battle between the all-powerful Dutch East India Company and the British Crown. The outcome of the fighting was one of the most spectacular deals in history: Britain ceded Run to Holland but in return was given Manhattan. This led not only to the birth of New York but also to the beginning of the British Empire.
Such a deal was due to the persistence of one man. Nathaniel Courthope and his small band of adventurers were sent to Run in October 1616, and for four years held off the massive Dutch navy. Nathaniel's Nutmeg centers on the remarkable showdown between Courthope and the Dutch Governor General Jan Coen, and the brutal fate of the mariners racing to Run-and the other corners of the globe-to reap the huge profits of the spice trade. Written with the flair of a historical sea novel but based on rigorous research, "Nathaniel's Nutmeg" is a brilliant adventure story by a writer who has been hailed as the "new Bruce Chatwin" ("Mail" on Sunday).
This emotionally charged and lyrically written memoir takes your students on a remarkable odyssey as they join Pacal Khoo Thwe on his journey from a Burmese hill tribe and a land torn by civil war to Cambridge University.Pascal grew up as a member of the tiny, remote Kayan Padaung tribe, famous for their "giraffenecked" women. The Padaung practiced a combination of ancient animist and Buddhist customs mixed with the Catholicism introduced by Italian missionaries. Theirs was a dream culture, a world in which ancestors were worshipped and ghosts were a constant presence. Pascal was the first member of his community ever to study English at university. But in Burma, English books were rare, and independent thought was discouraged. Photocopies of the few approved texts would be passed from student to student, while tuition consisted of lecturers reciting essays that the students learned by rote. Within a few months of his chance meeting with Dr Casey, Pascal's world lay in ruins. Successive economic crises brought about by Burma's military dictatorship meant he had to give up his studies. The regime's repression grew more brutal. Pascal fled to the jungle, becoming a guerrilla fighter in the life-or-death struggle against the government and seeing many of his friends and comrades die in battle. At a moment of desperation, he remembered the Englishman he had met in Mandalay and wrote him a letter, with little expectation of ever receiving a reply. Miraculously, the letter reached its destination on the other side of the world. Not only that, it would lead to Pascal's being rescued from the jungle and enrolling to study English at Cambridge University, the first Burmese tribesman ever to do so. From the Land of Green Ghosts is the autobiographical tale of a remarkable triumph of hope over despair, and of an encounter between two very different worlds. Hauntingly and poetically written, it opens the door to a place that if often unknown to West. Your students will not forget the realities of life in modern-day Burma and one young man's long journey to freedom despite almost unimaginable odds.
No country in Asia in recent years has undergone so massive a political shift in so short a time as Myanmar. Until recently, the former British colony had one of the most secretive, corrupt, and repressive regimes on the planet, a country where Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi was held in continual house arrest and human rights were denied to nearly all. Yet events in Myanmar since the elections of November 2010 have profoundly altered the internal mood of the society, and have surprised even Burmese and seasoned foreign observers of the Myanmar scene. The pessimism that pervaded the society prior to the elections, and the results of that voting that prompted many foreign observers to call them a "sham" or "fraud," gradually gave way to the realization that positive change was in the air.
Assigned to Zama, an Army hospital in Japan in September 1968, Glasser arrived as a pediatrician in the U.S. Army Medical Corps to care for the children of officers and high-ranking government officials. The hospital's main mission, however, was to support the war and care for the wounded. "They all came through the hospitals of Japan ... the chopper pilots and the RTO's, the forward observers, the cooks, the medics and the sergeants... the heroes and the ones under military arrest, the drug addicts and the killers." At Zama, an average of six to eight thousand patients were attended to per month, and the death and suffering were staggering. The soldiers counted their days by the length of their tour--one year, or 365 days--and they knew, down to the day, how much time they had left. Glasser tells their stories--of lives shockingly interrupted by the tragedies of war--with moving, humane eloquence.
This is an account of the military, political and personal life of Abdul Harus Nasution who was a seminal figure in modern Indonesian history in the years prior to his effective sidelining in the 1960s. He was an important commander during Indonesia's struggle for independence, who rose to become a key leader of the Indonesian armed forces under the first president, Sukarno. Perhaps more significantly, he developed ideas about guerrilla warfare that developed into a sophisticated and socially conservative doctrine for the mobilising of civilian communities. This, in turn, became the underpinning of the repressive, military-backed New Order regime of Indonesia's second president, Suharto, who ruled from 1966 until 1998, and which Nasution initially supported. Understanding Nasution's thinking about 'total people's resistance' is therefore very important for understanding the broader trajectory of Indonesian political history. That includes both the New Order and the emerging democratic regime that developed after its collapse. The new political system that called itself 'the Refom Era' was, in many ways, a direct reaction to the New Order military's penetration and close control of Indonesian society but it has never dismantled the 'shadow' state' structure of the armed forces that Nasution designed and Suharto perfected. In other words, as this book shows, Nasution's legacy still looms large today in Jokowi's Indonesia. This is not the first assessment of Nasution's life but it differs from earlier works by its investigation of Nasution's personal life and, in particular, his relationship with the well-off and well-connected Gondokusumo family, of which he became a member by his marriage to Johana Sunarti Gondokusumo. The author's thorough investigation of Nasution's relationship with Sunarti and her father offers important new insights into how Nasution's ideas evolved, as does the translations of important extracts from Nasution's own voluminous writing included in the text.
During World War II, Roger Hilsman fought in Burma with the legendary Merrill's Marauders until he was machine-gunned. Then, at age twenty-five, he led a battalion of indigenous troops behind Japanese lines. At the war's end, he headed a POW rescue mission to Manchuria, where the prisoners included his own father. An exciting, unusual coming-of-age story, American Guerrilla concludes with reflections on how Hilsman's wartime experiences influenced his involvement in early Vietnam War policymaking when he served in the Kennedy administration.
The Philippine dictatorship of Ferdinand E. Marcos was characterized by family-based rule and corruption. This sultanistic regime--in which the ruler exercised power freely, without loyalty to any ideology or institution--had to be brought down because Marcos would never step down. In this book Mark Thompson analyzes how Marcos' opponents in the political and economic elite coped with this situation and why their struggle resulted in a transition to democracy through people power rather than through violence and revolution.Based on 150 interviews that Thompson conducted with key participants and on unpublished materials collected during his five trips to the Philippines, the book sheds new light on the transition process. Thompson reveals how anti-Marcos politicians backed a terrorist campaign by social democrats and then, after its failure, joined a united front with the communists. But when opposition leader Benigno S. Aquino, Jr., was assassinated in 1983, the politicians were able to draw on public outrage and challenge Marcos at the polls. The opposition's moral crusade brought down Marcos and enabled the new president, Corazon C. Aquino, to consolidate democracy despite the troubling legacies of the dictatorship. Thompson argues that the Philippines' long-standing democratic tradition and the appeal that honest government had to the Filipinos were important elements in explaining the peaceful transition process.
From the acclaimed author and scholar James C. Scott, the compelling tale of Asian peoples who until recently have stemmed the vast tide of state-making to live at arm's length from any organized state societyFor two thousand years the disparate groups that now reside in Zomia (a mountainous region the size of Europe that consists of portions of seven Asian countries) have fled the projects of the organized state societies that surround them--slavery, conscription, taxes, corv e labor, epidemics, and warfare. This book, essentially an "anarchist history," is the first-ever examination of the huge literature on state-making whose author evaluates why people would deliberately and reactively remain stateless. Among the strategies employed by the people of Zomia to remain stateless are physical dispersion in rugged terrain; agricultural practices that enhance mobility; pliable ethnic identities; devotion to prophetic, millenarian leaders; and maintenance of a largely oral culture that allows them to reinvent their histories and genealogies as they move between and around states.
In accessible language, James Scott, recognized worldwide as an eminent authority in Southeast Asian, peasant, and agrarian studies, tells the story of the peoples of Zomia and their unlikely odyssey in search of self-determination. He redefines our views on Asian politics, history, demographics, and even our fundamental ideas about what constitutes civilization, and challenges us with a radically different approach to history that presents events from the perspective of stateless peoples and redefines state-making as a form of "internal colonialism." This new perspective requires a radical reevaluation of the civilizational narratives of the lowland states. Scott's work on Zomia represents a new way to think of area studies that will be applicable to other runaway, fugitive, and marooned communities, be they Gypsies, Cossacks, tribes fleeing slave raiders, Marsh Arabs, or San-Bushmen.
This book examines the Australia-ASEAN Dialogue Partnership since its inception in 1974 and looks at the networks of engagement that have shaped relations across three areas: regionalism, non-traditional security, and economic engagement.