April 2017

Yangon, Myanmar
6 April 2017

Best Books about Myanmar

From Inge Sargent’s “My Life as a Shan Princess” through Thant Myint U’ “River of Lost Footsteps” to Marek Lenarcik’s “Burma Lost & Found” there is always something to read about Myanmar.

YANGON, 6th April 2017 – Myanmar’s opening to the world dating back to 2011 saw an increased interest in literature in and about Myanmar. Always popular classic, older books started to appear on the bookstores’ shelves, travel guides saw increased sales while new authors both local and foreign took on Myanmar.

Those interested in a balanced version of recent Myanmar history could reach for the “River of Lost Footsteps” written by Thant Myint U (grandson of the former UN secretary general U Thant). “My life as a Shan Princess” by Inge Sargent written by an Austrian lady who became a royalty living in Hsipaw gives an interesting insight into the Shan royal history. George Orwell’s “Burmese Days” is of course a classic on Myanmar. Written during the colonial times by an English officer gives an excellent insight into Myanmar psychology, thinking and behavior of Myanmar people.

Ma Thanegi’s “Nor Iron Bars a cage” depicts author’s 3 years as a political prisoner in Yangon’s infamous Insein prison. Photography buffs should reach for “Burma, frontier photographs, 1918-1935” (John Falconer, David Odo and Mandy Sadan) featuring 200 textiles and over 1600 photographs taken during Green’s career as a recruiting and intelligence officer stationed in Burma in 1920s and 1930s.

“Burmese Design & Architecture (published by periplus.com) is a beautiful coffee table book about Burmese arts and a good introduction to the culture. “Burma, Art and Archaeology (edited by Alexandra Green and T. Richard Burton) is a very interesting collection of articles on different subjects from wooden monasteries through bronze sculptures to court dresses in Shan State. “Spendour in Wood, The Buddhist Monasteries of Burma” by Sylvia Fraser-Lu is a beautiful, very detailed book enriched with drawing and pictures about wooden monasteries in Myanmar.

Last, but not least those planning to travel to Myanmar should reach for the Lonely Planet’s guide. More demanding travelers could take a look at “Myanmar: Burma in Style: Illustrated History and Guide” – a great account of the history, politics and culture of the people and the country by Caroline Courtauld.

Finally William Somerset-Maugham, one of the Britian’s greatest authors will take you on a trip to Southeast Asia (including Burma) in the late twenties in “The Gentleman in the Parlour”, while Marek Lenarcik will offer you an exciting insight into travel, life and work in modernizing Myanmar in his “Burma Lost & Found: Three years living my dream job in the travel industry in Rangoon and beyond.”

Take your pick and read before, during and after your travels to Myanmar!


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