Myanmar (formerly called Burma, until 1989) has suffered from long-term instability. Wendy Law-Yone, the Burmese-born novelist, chooses books on “her own Burma”, covering the history of the country from the 17th century through the late 19th and early 20th century period of British colonialism to the present day. Sean Turnell, professor of economics at Macquarie University, who focuses on the country, chooses his best books for understanding the Burmese economy.
Sue Arnold, an Anglo-Burmese journalist, who writes for The Observer and The Guardian for many years, chooses her best books on describing Burma. Emma Larkin, the US journalist, who focuses on the country and the Swedish journalist, Bertil Lintner who has reported on Burma since the early 1980s, both choose their best books on the country. Arnold, Larkin and Lintner all choose From the Land of Green Ghosts by Pascal Koo Thwe. And Turnell, Arnold and Lintner all choose Auug San Suu Kyi’s Freedom from Fear.
Wendy Law-Yone says the same blend of megalomania and mysticism inherent in Burmese despots and witnessed in 17th-century Burma, that dynastic lunacy with delusions of divinity, is still in florid evidence today
The author and journalist talks about a Burma where women wear fresh flowers in their hair, where houses are populated by spirits, butterflies are as big as brooches and the regime throws political prisoners into camps
The American writer has an obsession with recording Burma’s vanishing stories before the current regime’s actions result in the rewriting of Burmese history. She chooses five books on the real Burma
The Swedish Journalist says Burma has always played its neighbours against each other and managed to stay neutral. That neutrality is gone now. It is not so much a client as a close ally of China