• The Hidden History of Burma

  • Race, Capitalism, and the Crisis of Democracy in the 21st Century
  • By: Thant Myint-U
  • Narrated by: Assaf Cohen
  • Length: 9 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Asia
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (63 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

Precariously positioned between China and India, Burma's population has suffered dictatorship, natural disaster, and the dark legacies of colonial rule. But when decades of military dictatorship finally ended and internationally beloved Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi emerged from long years of house arrest, hopes soared. World leaders such as Barack Obama ushered in waves of international support. Progress seemed inevitable. 

As historian, former diplomat, and presidential advisor, Thant Myint-U saw the cracks forming. In this insider's diagnosis of a country at a breaking point, he dissects how a singularly predatory economic system, fast-rising inequality, disintegrating state institutions, the impact of new social media, the rise of China next door, climate change, and deep-seated feelings around race, religion, and national identity all came together to challenge the incipient democracy. Interracial violence soared and a horrific exodus of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees fixed international attention. Myint-U explains how and why this happened, and details an unsettling prognosis for the future. 

Are democracy and an economy that genuinely serves all its people possible in Burma? In clear and urgent prose, Myint-U explores this question - a concern not just for the Burmese but for the rest of the world.

©2020 Thant Myint-U (P)2019 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

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Comprehensive Account on Burma’s recent problems

Really fascinating to get an overview of what’s has been really happening recently in Burma. Strongly recommend to anyone who is trying to understand the country and its challenges.

2 people found this helpful

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a must primer for understanding the coup 2021

terrible and incredibly inaccurate pronunciation of myanmar language but all in all book itself is a must read for those trying to understand events leading up to the coup of February 2021. excellent storyteller with truly an insider's perspective although accuracy I am not entirely convinced of. nevertheless you will enjoy this book immensely

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In one word, incredible

it's insightful and led me to read the whole book in one sitting. Thoroughly researched and a delightful to read.

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Uncanny analogs with other countries

This book is a must-read, by the grandson of former Secretary-General of the United Nations U Thant. There are uncanny analogs (in substance, not necessarily degree) between Burma/Myanmar and other countries, including the US. Here you'll find a narrative in objective voice of tribal conflict, racial hatred, populist and nationalist resentment, as well as fear and loathing of immigrants and the resultant persecution of them. Add to this mix a long history of post-colonial authoritarian military rule and the normalized corruption accompanying it, along with the related destructive social and environmental effects of unrestrained crony Capitalism producing caste-like inequality. Even after advice a few years ago from Nobel economics laureate Joseph Stiglitz, (my impression from the book is that) much of the population still seems to accept neoliberalism as the order of the day.

There was and still is hope that the rise of Aung San Suu Kyi, once imprisoned but now the country's "State Counsellor" (in effect the practical head of state), will solidify truly democratic reforms and begin to improve the economy and social relations between the disparate ethic groups that comprise the population of Myanmar. That the allegations of genocide against the Rohingya occurred while Suu Kyi was in power provide a stark reminder that no human is perfect, and that reform is rarely easy.

I see lessons for the US in all this. At whatever point the Democrats regain control of the state mechanism, it would be tragic if they then claimed that by just getting there their task was completed. There is and will be a lot more work to do—by everyone. We all must ensure that we see to getting it done.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-14-20

I love this Book

very good and as a burmese, i can learn a lots from this book and felt true story of the country.
I Love It.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-23-20

A book represents Myanmar’s journey to democratization

Recommend to read this book to truly understand the civilian lives in Myanmar. A record of new era of Burma.