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Finding George Orwell in Burma Hardcover – Bargain Price, June 2, 2005
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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
This book has more than met my expectations - it has exceeded them. Emma Larkin has done her research. And she did it before she went to Burma. Read morePublished 8 days ago by Kersi F. Munshi
I am an Orwell fan so looked forward to this book. It's okay but nothing inspiring.Published 3 months ago by Robert
Excellent book. I have just finished reading George Orwell's " Bumese Days". Emma's book is a wonderful companion read to Orwell's time in Burma. Read morePublished 4 months ago by PN COULSON
This book gives an interesting insight into life in Myanmar whilst ferreting out parts of Orwell's experiences in his various postings in Burma. Read morePublished 5 months ago by William Henry Rankine
This book gave me an amazingly good impression of how life is and was in Burma. The author gave all of the details in a way which magically explained the way Orwell lived there. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Elizabeth Thomas
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 6 months 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 8 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 12 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