- Series: What Everyone Needs to Know
- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; unknown edition (November 5, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0195390687
- ISBN-13: 978-0195390681
- Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 0.6 x 5.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 17 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,782,343 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Burma/Myanmar: What Everyone Needs to Know® unknown Edition
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WHAT EVERYONE NEEDS TO KNOW About This Series
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"Steinberg (Asian studies, Sch. of Foreign Service, Georgetown Univ.) is well qualified to shed light in a balanced fashion on the complex issues that plague the country ... [The book's] extended question-and-answer format makes this a handy quick reference source for those wanting to cut straight to the main points. VERDICT This is a top choice for students and those with a probing interest in world affairs. Whatever we call it, we are certain to be hearing more about this country."--Library Journal"[A] pointed briefing."--Foreign Affairs
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Burma has received a lot of attention in the news these past few years, but very few people know much about the country's history or problems. David Steinberg, one of the top experts on Burma, lays everything out clearly in this book. It covers everything from precolonial history to the country's future development challenges. Steinberg also tries to be evenhanded and unbiased (notice the cover, which features both the monks and the generals).
Admittedly, this is a drier, academic book than something along the lines of Thant Myint-U's The River of Lost Footsteps: A Personal History of Burma. This book might not be quite as useful if you've read a thorough book on Burma or follow the country closely, since this book doesn't break any theoretical ground or unveil any new discoveries. However, it is very comprehensive and includes the latest statistics and developments. The book is organized around a set of questions, which makes for easy reference.
I'd recommend it to policymakers interested in Burma or travelers who like to go beyond the headlines. As the title suggests, this book can serve as a one-stop shop on the country.
David Steinberg has one very convincing argument that Myanmar is yet another civil war that the USA has no need to be involved with. A radical change of US foreign policy is called for, if it is not to continue the failed strategy of the past with regard ex-colonial countries that have moved toward nationalism.
Steinberg's excellent book fully covers Myanmar's crises, their causes, and solutions applied by civilian and military governments. It covers internal insurgencies as well as external foreign policy manipulation. Most Americans will be shocked to learn that the government and many people in Myanmar truly believe the US Government intends to invade their county! Steinberg says: "Fear of consipiracies (even invasions) by foreign powers or elements against the leadership have made Burmese leaders both wary and skeptical about the motivations of foreign governments toward the state and its leaders. This is reinforced by previous foreign attempts to destabilize governments and rulers and support of dissident ethnic/political groups. These nationalistic tendencies are only magnified by derogatory foreign comments about the regime, its goals and its leaders. Fear of foreign domination may contribute to the suspicions about Aung San Suu Kyi, who is supported by the Western foreign community".
Even considering Steinberg's impartial and fair handling of all parties to the crises of Myanmar, it is difficult to see lasting solutions to the issues. His final statement offers little if any consolation or hope for the future: "As the political stalemate continues, as foreign pressures for reform seem ineffective, and as the internal conditions of the peoples in the country deteriorate, those outside of that benighted country can only hope that in some Burmese manner the people will win through."
For an understanding of Myanmar, this book, Burma/Myanmar: What Everyone Needs to Know is on a par with Thant Myint U's book The River of Lost Footsteps: A Personal History of Burma. Both books are highly recommended reading.