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The River of Lost Footsteps: A Personal History of Burma Paperback – Illustrated, January 8, 2008

4.3 out of 5 stars 164 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“[B]rilliant . . . The River of Lost Footsteps is a balanced, thorough, and serious history, but it is also a polemic, firm in its view that the current international campaign--pursuing 'this policy of isolating one of the most isolated countries in the world'--is moving in the wrong direction.” ―New Yorker

“Mr. Thant eloquently and mournfully recites the dismal history of the last half century and, in analyzing the country's nascent democracy movement, holds out only the slimmest of hopes for a better future. It will not come through economic and diplomatic sanctions, of that he is convinced. Trade and more engagement, especially more tourism, might let in badly needed light and air. But trying to topple the regime by isolating it would, he argues, be disastrous.” ―William Grimes, The New York Times

“Thant Myint-U's narrative is full of rich details and colorful characters like Bayinnaung, a 16th-century king who led a mighty elephant corps into battle, defeating neighboring Siam . . . If it could somehow be set on a different course, Thant Myint-U suggests, Burma could once again become an important player in Asia.” ―Joshua Kurlantzick, The Washington Monthly

“Fascinating . . . [Thant] gives us both the savory details and the cruelties of colonialism, as well as a rare for feel for palace intrigue. In the process, he suggests that isolation is in fact just what the military regime feeds on. It's in its blood.” ―Pico Iyer, Time

“Vivid and well-told history.... With wide interest in Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and others opposing the ruling generals, this warrants attention.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“Profiling 20th-century Burmese leaders such as Aung San, U Nu and Nobel Peace Prize-winning activist Aung San Suu Kyi, Thant Myint-U beautifully captures the complex identity of a little-understood country, concluding with a trenchant analysis of Burma's current predicament under an oppressive regime.” ―Publishers Weekly

“The best introduction yet available to the modern history of Burma. Sad and poignant, intelligent and thought-provoking.” ―William Dalrymple

“A balanced, fascinating, sometimes humorous account of nation-building.” ―Rory Stewart, author of The Places in Between and The Prince of the Marshes

About the Author

Thant Myint-U, born in 1966, was educated at Harvard and Cambridge. He has served on United Nations peacekeeping operations in Cambodia and Bosnia, and was more recently the head of policy planning in the UN Department of Political Affairs.


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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Farrar, Straus and Giroux; First edition (January 8, 2008)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 400 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0374531161
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0374531164
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 12.3 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.44 x 1.16 x 8.33 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.3 out of 5 stars 164 ratings

Customer reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5
164 global ratings
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Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on October 28, 2019
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5.0 out of 5 stars Page turner history
By Amazon Customer on October 28, 2019
A balanced respectful history of a complex country. From early empires to modern day nation, this book combines personal family stories and memories with solid research. A loving look at the dilemmas of a diverse nation. Most works I've read focus on the problems stemming from military dictatorship and British colonization often romanticizing previous eras. This book looks at a long history of a crossroads culture noting Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Indian, American and internal tribal influences. And forces that lead to Myanmar as it is today. Essential for understanding southeast Asia.
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Reviewed in the United States on October 7, 2017
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Top reviews from other countries

F1Hertz
5.0 out of 5 stars A comprehensive insight into Burmese history up to the modern era.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 13, 2013
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4 people found this helpful
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MR J E BATES
4.0 out of 5 stars Myanmar (History of Burma before recent elections)
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 18, 2015
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2 people found this helpful
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Todd Wade
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than a typical travel book.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 5, 2016
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C E C Marsh
5.0 out of 5 stars Burmese history.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 9, 2017
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Mr D Ward
4.0 out of 5 stars Great arrived in time - I really
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 8, 2016
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