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The River of Lost Footsteps

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Description

Burma is currently ruled by a harsh dictatorship unmoved by Western activists and sanctions. It is also the sight of the longest-running conflict in the world. Drawing both on his own family's stories and his years of hands-on political experience working with the United Nations, Thant Myint-U has written an illuminating account of how Burma's rich past informs its violent present, and of how the world might transform the country's future.

In The River of Lost Footsteps, Thant Myint-U tells the story of modern Burma, in part through a telling of his own family's history, in an interwoven narrative that is by turns lyrical, dramatic, and appalling. His maternal grandfather, U Thant, rose from being the schoolmaster of a small town in the Irrawaddy Delta to become the UN secretary-general in the 1960s. And on his father's side, the author is descended from a long line of courtiers who served at Burma's Court of Ava for nearly two centuries. Through their stories and others, he portrays Burma's rise and decline in the modern world, from the time of Portuguese pirates and renegade Mughal princes through the decades of British colonialism, the devastation of World War II, a sixty-year civil war that continues today, military repression and the immergence of Nobel Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.

The River of Lost Footsteps is a work both personal and global, a distinctive contribution that makes Burma accessible and enthralling. Thant Myint-U is the author of Where China Meets India and has written articles for the New York Times, the Washington Post and the New Statesman.

From Publishers Weekly

25 September 2006 – Analysis of Burma has been "singularly ahistorical," Thant Myint-U (The Making of Modern Burma), a senior officer at the U.N., observes. With an eye to what the past might say about Burma's present status as a country in crisis, Thant Myint-U examines the legacy of imperialism, war and invasion. Recounting in a well-crafted narrative the colorful histories of Burmese dynastic empires from ancient times to the 18th century, Thant Myint-U then focuses on how, during the 19th century, the Burmese kingdom of Ava fought and lost a series of border wars with the British East India Company, culminating in a treaty that marked the beginning of Burma's loss of independence. Considering the country's longstanding global isolation in the context of its geographic and cultural singularity, Thant Myint-U interweaves his own family's history, writing extensively about his maternal grandfather, U Thant, who rose from humble origins to become secretary-general of the U.N. in the 1960s. Profiling 20th-century Burmese leaders such as Aung San, U Nu and Nobel Peace Prize–winning activist Aung San Suu Kyi, Thant Myint-U beautifully captures the complex identity of a little-understood country, concluding with a trenchant analysis of Burma's current predicament under an oppressive regime.
The River of Lost Footsteps
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  • £9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Asia
  • Published: 03 February 2011
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber
  • Print Length: 384 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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