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Freedom from Fear: And Other Writings Paperback – July 14, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Aung San Suu Kyi was awarded the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize for courageous leadership of the Burmese people in their battle against authoritarian rule. The forthright condemnation of the regime that resulted in the activist's house arrest is clearly expressed in the essays in this volume. Part one--which describes Burma's political, intellectual and literary history--includes a moving yet unsentimental biography of the author's father, Aung San. Clearly a role model, though he was assassinated when she was only two, Aung San was a seminal figure in the Burmese struggle for independence in the 1940s. Part two contains a series of essays on democracy and human rights. Of particular interest is Aung San Suu Kyi's brief statement in response to a nomination for political office. Though under house arrest at the time, she accepted "out of respect for the decision taken by my party in accordance with democratic practices." Part three presents tributes to Aung San Suu Kyi by friends and scholars. Ann Pasternak Slater candidly recalls the human rights activist as a student at Oxford becoming initiated into Western ways. A visiting professor at Harvard, Aris is the author's husband. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Nobel Peace Prize winner for 1991, Aung San Suu Kyi is currently under house arrest in Myanmar (Burma) and serves as the nation's conscience against an oppressive military regime. Compiled by her husband, Michael Aris, with a foreword by Vaclav Havel, this volume includes a wide selection of Aung San's writings--essays, letters, speeches, and interviews--as well as four tributary articles. However, more stress should have been given to her writings since 1988 when she entered political life. Her best essay, "My Father," is a biographical portrait of the father of modern Burma. (This has been separately published as Aung San of Burma by Kiscadale Publications and will be distributed in the United States by Seven Hills in February 1992.) Although her writings are repetitive and often more about her father than herself, people will want to read about the plight of a heroic figure trapped by a corrupt Third World regime.
- Donald Clay Johnson, Univ. of Minnesota Lib., Minneapolis
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (July 14, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141039493
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141039497
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.8 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #372,100 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Maurizio Giuliano on December 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
Once more, Nobel Peace prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi presents us with a thrilling book, of which she is the author, but also being the incarnation of Burma's struggle for democracy. This book is (to use a rather 'heretic' term) a 'bible' of Burma's struggle for freedom, and is destined to go down among the books who made the country's and the region's history. You will read it in two or three hours without putting it down. This one, among her three major books, is particularly well-written, edited by her late husband Dr Michael Aris (Peace be Upon Him). Suu Kyi's account is fervid, direct, impartial. She expresses her views with submission, total lack of any aggression or resentment, peace of mind... She manages, through her writings, not just to tell of her country's bloodshed and terror regime, but also to convey a marvellous great feeling of peace and hope, in fact, freedom from fear ! She talks of the country and her people, and also of herself, explaining how she approached - emotionally and psychologically - the struggle during almost a decade of home arrest or controlled movements. She provides a recipe for all those who, with her courage, would like to join the battle for world justice. Truly a wonderful book, by one of the world's most wonderful persons, whom I met in Rangoon in 1998, and being deported from the country as a result. May G-d bless her, her country, and her struggle. Meanwhile, you might find in this book some inspiration and strength - to fight for similar causes, or just to live your everyday life. Wonderful !
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Format: Paperback
I re-read this book shortly after Aung San Suu Kyi was placed, once again, under house arrest in 2003. The daughter of the man who is referred as the founding father of Burma(today called Myanmar) - Aung San - is herself a major political figure in her country. The chapter about her father - who was assassinated when the author was two years old - is an impressive, informative, and dispassionate account of Aung San's days as a student leader and his leadership of the independence movement that established modern Burma as a nation. My own father was a foreign correspondent in Burma in the late 1940s and had covered the assassination of Aung San and his colleagues. This left me since my childhood with a deep curiosity about this period of Burmese history - and Aung San's daughter's account does not leave curious readers like myself disappointed. Most of the book is devoted to the life and times of Suu Kyi herself. It includes several articles by other writers who help readers understand how a Burmese woman rises to national prominence in a country which has known but unbroken military dictatorship for decades. This book is also about Burmese culture, religion, and language, and should be on the bookshelf on anyone who has a serious interest in this curious, wretched country of tremendous unfulfilled potential.
If you have an interest in Burmese or Southeast Asian history, you might also consider reading Amitav Ghosh's The Glass Palace, a historical novel which I have also reviewed on this website.
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Format: Paperback
This book was for me an opener into the evolution of Burma's political scene, and it proved to be a good one.
Whilst it takes some time to get accustomed to the many abbreviations of Burma's political parties and factions, once it is gotten used to, Freedom from Fear becomes an essential book for those interested in the becoming of Aung San Suu Kyi - daughter of Burma's national hero, the late Aung San - and her process of fighting and eventually winning the support of the country she always called home depite her international influences.
Though Freedom from Fear would be a good book to start learning about Burma's modern political history, I would suggest first reading about pre-colonial Burma to get a better grasp and understanding of the country's stand and place in Southeast Asia.
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Format: Paperback
Having just come back from a visit to Burma I was really interested to pick up this book. I had tried to find it before I left and was unsuccessful but read up a reasonable amount on the country before I arrived.

Frankly, my feelings were mixed. Part 1 ,which actually takes up about half the book, is a series of essays on Burma published by Suu Kyi before she became politically active. Although there was some interesting information on the history of Burma and her father I felt as if these were a little out of place for an average reader and tended to all discuss similar issues repeatedly (background on her father and the history of Burmese Nationalism) or provide large amounts of information that was hard to digest (going through all the provinces of the country and talking about their key characteristics in one essay). They didn't really convey any sense of who the author was to me or give me much understanding of her.

I understand that due to her lengthy incarceration there are not a huge volume of speeches and other materials to draw on but reading through part 1 I rapidly found myself losing interest. I feel bad saying that but it is just my honest feelings - it was almost as if they were put in as fluff to add some length to the text (not saying that was the reason but how I felt). In particular I felt the essay titled "Intelectual Life in Burma and India Under Colonialism" was a gruelling read and just not relevant enough or set at a reasonable level for someone who does not have an indepth knowledge of Burmese or Indian history to understand. It seemed to be a very indepth, analytical dissertation style piece that is very hard for a casual reader such as myself to take much from.
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