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Finding George Orwell in Burma Hardcover – Bargain Price, June 2, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
More About the Author
Finding George Orwell in Burma was also published in the UK (by John Murray under the title Secret Histories: Finding George Orwell in a Burmese Teashop). In the US, Finding George won the Borders Original Voices Award for Non-Fiction in 2005. In the UK, the book was short-listed for the Index on Censorship's Freedom of Expression Award 2005. The Japanese-language edition, published by Shobunsha in Tokyo, won the Mainichi Shimbun's Asia Pacific Grand Prix Award in 2006.
Top Customer Reviews
As a literary biography she sheds new light onto Orwell as a person and the background to his books. In particular, I was fascinated by her informed speculation into how Orwell's experiences in Burma contributed to his transformation from a privileged child of Empire into the champion of the lower classes who came to write `1984'.
As a travel book Larkin brings Burma to life. Her descriptions of the Burmese landscape and Burmese people are wonderful and suggest that she dearly loves the country despite its hideous government.
As a book on modern politics, Larkin is extremely successful in describing how a totalitarian dictatorship operates and the devastation such forms of government inflict upon their people. In particular, Larkin's descriptions of how the Burmese regime has corrupted almost every aspect of civil society offers very valuable insights into how such regimes survive in the face of their brutality and incompetence. More subtly, the fact that Larkin had to write this book under a pseudonym and was unable to reveal any details about herself for fear of being identified and expelled from Burma brings to life the grim realities of living under a repressive regime.
All up, this is an impressive book which deserves a wide readership.
The author travels extensively through this country tracing the footsteps of George Orwell when he was stationed there as an imperial policeman. Along the way the not so subtle effects of a state where none of the freedoms we take for granted exist become more and more evident to the reader.
The author presents these people and their stories in a very objective fashion and doesn't seek to sensationalize their struggles for political purpose. The effect of this style is actually very powerful because the reader gradually draws the only possible conclusion regarding the current regime in Burma.
This is a fine book that is part travelogue, part biography, but more than anything a testament to how people survive in a country where human rights and freedom are essentially non-existent.
Emma Larkin (a "nom de plume") has managed to focus on what must surely be a unique perspective when it comes to 21st century Burma. She ties the modern totalitarian regime with George Orwell's classics, particularly "1984" and "Animal Farm." Her insight into the workings of the country and knowledge of the language have resulted in a fascinating tale of her travels through Burma, tracing the career of Orwell during his five-year stint as a British colonial policeman.
Having made numerous trips to Burma, Larkin has accumulated quite a following of contacts and friends, whose names have been changed to protect them from the very real danger of torture and imprisonment for talking to a foreign journalist. This collection of locals, however, gives the author a window into what must be the second most repressive nation on the planet (after North Korea). The reader is treated to tales of what is happening in that beautiful and tragic place, eyes opened to the situation for the average citizen. The military junta that rules Burma is responsible for unspeakable human rights violations and remains, justifiably, paranoid about its tenuous hold on power. Larkin relates the tenseness of the situation in an informative and enlightening way.
I particularly enjoyed her descriptions of the remnants of British colonialism and how Orwell and his colleagues must have lived. It's a tale of a bygone era when Britain ruled a third of the world, "memsahibs" could thrash a servant for incompetence and a struggling civil servant feared for his life thanks to a high crime rate and the threat of vengenance from resentful colonial subjects.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I've been a frequent visitor to Myanmar for the past 5 years, and have watched with interest its transition from the country Emma Larkin has described to one that is now catching... Read morePublished 20 days ago by John C.
Reading this book during a visit to Myanmar during the National Elections on november 8th was a wondeful supplement as well as a follow up to having just read George Orwell's... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Dr. James L. Franklin
A beautifully detailed novel, with perfectly placed references back to George Orwell's work throughout - I adored reading itPublished 6 months ago by Emma
Finding George Orwell in Burma was an interesting read. Prior to this book I knew little about George Orwell and little about Burma. Read more
Orwell had outstanding insight into the human character, its strengths and weaknesses.Published 9 months ago by Donald Meeker
The book gave me a good overall picture of Myanmar before my travels there. It was interesting to see how things changes and how they remained the same. Read morePublished 13 months ago by NH
While preparing to take an extensive trip to Myanmar this past year I acquired a number of current and Classic books on Burma to get the lay of the land. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Bernard McGovern
As preparation for a trip to Myanmar I think the book helps give a good historical context of the country. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Liberty