GloriaF- books or websites about Burma?

Old Jun 16th, 2006, 06:52 AM
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GloriaF- books or websites about Burma?

Hi Gloria-

This is a bit of an offshot from the current thread about travel to Burma. While I am aware of the basic facts about the current situation in Burma, I would like to learn more. Can you recommend any books to read or websites to follow? Also, can you tell us more about the organizations you are familiar with that are affecting change in the country?

Thanks,
Cruisinred

P.S.
The bbc news website is currently running a series of articles reporting about the situation in Burma: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/5071288.stm
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Old Jun 16th, 2006, 07:02 AM
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I just postd a website I recommend on the other thread, www.freeburma.org
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Old Jun 16th, 2006, 07:20 AM
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Kathie-
Thanks for that website. It is very interesting to see the divirgent views on tourism to Burma from the various advocacy groups: some support it, other abhor it.
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Old Jun 16th, 2006, 08:53 AM
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Yes, it really is a complex issue.

I'd also recommend some of ASSK's books. Letters from Burma is a nice start.
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Old Jun 16th, 2006, 08:55 AM
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Cruisinred,

here are a couple of websites that you might like to have a look at.

http://www.burmacampaign.org.uk/aboutburma/tourism.html

http://www.johnpilger.com/page.asp?partid=331
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Old Jun 16th, 2006, 01:36 PM
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here are some books off the top of my head-- more to follow as well as more details. I've starred the ones I liked the most
**Borderlines
Burma: A socialist Nation of SE Asia
Burma Surgeon
**Living Silence
**Piano Tuner
**Burmese Looking Glass
A Prayer for Burma
Burmese Journey
Finding George Orwell in Burma
** From the Land of Green Ghosts
** everything by Aung San Suu Kyi
** Whispers in the Pagoda
Helen of Burma
John Dollar
** From the Land of Green Ghosts
Singing to the Dead
** Twilight over Burma
Singing to the Dead
** The Shore Beyond Good and Evil
Vanishing Tribes of Burma
**Among Insurgents
** Burma: The state of Myanmar
** new book by Amy Tan (having a senior moment)
** Burma: Prospects for a Democratic Future
The city of the dagger
Trouser People
** A Land without Evil
Harp of Bura
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Old Jun 16th, 2006, 01:44 PM
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To Gloria's list, I would add:
Gentleman in the Parlour
Burmese Days
The Glass Palace
btw the Amy Tan book is called Saving Fish From Drowning and is fairly entertaining.
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Old Jun 16th, 2006, 01:54 PM
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Good additions -- another must (absolute must) is "The Burman" -- not sure it's in print but it's the definitive book on the burmese culture.
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Old Jun 16th, 2006, 04:44 PM
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Gloria,

If you could "dumb it down" for someone who has a relatively short attention span when it comes to reading, is there one book you can recommend that kept you riveted all the way through and at the same time captured the essence of the Burma/Myanmar situation?

Thanks.

Craig
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Old Jun 16th, 2006, 09:07 PM
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Here are some more
**Lords of the Sunset
Burmese Family
**Burma: Challenge of Change in a Divided Society
**Burma: Curse of Independence
** Land of Jade
**The Making of Modern Burma
Inroads into Burma
The Iron Road
**Forgotten Land
Burmese Arcady
**Burma in Revolt
Among the Burman
Land of the Great Image
**Golden Earth
**Burma -- Insurgency and the Politics of Ethniticity
Chasing the Dragon
**Living Silence
Into Hidden Burma
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Old Jun 16th, 2006, 09:14 PM
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Craig-- what kind of book are you looking for. The "general" histories written for tourists are, to my mind, much too simplistic and don't provide any isights into the issues and/or culture. And most of the rest of the books are more specialized -- in large part because the world doesn't care about Burma and thus books for the lay person don't sell and thus aren't written in the way they are about china or vietnam or south africa. And that lack of understanding or concern hurts the Burmese people in my opinion.

But if you tell me more specifically what you are looking for I'll try to help.

By the time I went to burma the first time I had read at least half of the books I've listed and I read the others before I returned. So I did not make my decision lightly or based on hearsay or on one or two opinions. I read a lot, learned a lot and grew passionate about the country. Which is why I get so angry when someone attacks me for making the decision I did and then quotes a guide book!
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Old Jun 17th, 2006, 03:35 AM
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Gloria, I'm not a big reader of non-fiction. I have enjoyed fiction like Bangkok 8 and Bangkok Tatoo - these have been recommended on this forum and give a good insight and a decidedly different view into life in urban Thailand. Or if you have read Kite Runner - something like that would hold my attention. Non-fiction written in a similar fashion would work for me also. Its not the end of the world if what I'm looking for doesn't exist - I have already made my decision to go.
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Old Jun 17th, 2006, 05:11 AM
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Craig, Saving Fish from Drowning is a little quirky, but I think it fits your bill (it's set at Inle Lake). Also, I think The Glass Palace would work for you. I look forward to hearing other thoughts.
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Old Jun 17th, 2006, 05:36 AM
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Craig --None of the fiction books on Burma equal Kite Runner (which I truly loved). Howeever, I agree with cc that Saving Fish from Drowning is a fun book for anyone who has traveled to asia and gives some insights into the political situation today. Glass Palace gives more history in readable fiction.

From the Land of Green Giants is a beautiful non fiction book which some people find reminiscent of Kite Runner and which reads like a novel. I strongly recommend if for an understanding of some of the worst brutalities this regime has inflicted on the ethnic minorities as well as an understanding of their culture. It is also a truly inspirational book in terms of what one man achieved. I have friends who have no particular interest in asia or burma who loved it and said they couldn't put it down. So I'd give it a try.

Twilight Over Burma is also an easy non fiction read about a shan princess at the time Burma became independent. An easy way to learn about the independence movement and burma in the years immediately after independence -- crucial if you really want to understand how the country got to the awful place it is today.
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Old Jun 17th, 2006, 08:15 AM
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Thank you CCC and Gloria. I have ordered The Glass Palace, Land of the Green Ghosts and Twilight over Burma in paperback from Amazon. I will pick up the Amy Tan book at the library as it is only available in hardcover. I am sure Jeane will also enjoy reading these books.
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Old Jun 18th, 2006, 11:47 AM
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I'm reading Glass Palace (Craig I think Jeanne may like it more than you will) & have just ordered Finding George Orwell in Burma from Amazon. I read excerpts on line & it looks like it will be an interesting insight into current situation from the viewpoint of the various people the author meets as he travels around the country.
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Old Jun 18th, 2006, 01:03 PM
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CFW and Craig, The Glass Palace is excellent and I also loved the Piano Tuner, another ficton book about colonial Burma.
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Old Jun 18th, 2006, 01:15 PM
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Piano Tuner is a lovely book (much better written than Glass Palace).It's worth reading for its literary merits but I don't think you'll learn much about burma from it.If you want a book about colonial burma I would go with Orwell's Burmese Days.
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