Blood, Dreams and Gold The Changing Face of Burma Richard Cockett

Publication date:
25 Sep 2015
Yale University Press
296 pages: 235 x 156mm
20 b-w illus.
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The best single-volume analysis of Burma, its checkered history, and its attempts to reform  

Burma is one of the largest countries in Southeast Asia and was once one of its richest. Under successive military regimes, however, the country eventually ended up as one of the poorest countries in Asia, a byword for repression and ethnic violence. Richard Cockett spent years in the region as a correspondent for The Economist and witnessed firsthand the vicious sectarian politics of the Burmese government, and later, also, its surprising attempts at political and social reform.
Cockett’s enlightening history, from the colonial era on, explains how Burma descended into decades of civil war and authoritarian government. Taking advantage of the opening up of the country since 2011, Cockett has interviewed hundreds of former political prisoners, guerilla fighters, ministers, monks, and others to give a vivid account of life under one of the most brutal regimes in the world. In many cases, this is the first time that they have been able to tell their stories to the outside world. Cockett also explains why the regime has started to reform, and why these reforms will not go as far as many people had hoped. This is the most rounded survey to date of this volatile Asian nation.

More about this title

For more on Richard Cockett, please visit his website here.

Richard Cockett has reported from Latin America, Africa and Asia for The Economist, and was Southeast Asia correspondent from 2010–14. He is the author of several books, the most recent being Sudan: Darfur and the Failure of the African State. He lives in London. 

"This is as much a popular introduction to Myanmar history, politics and culture, as an in-depth academic study. Richard Cockett nevertheless provides a number of important insights . . . and along the way develops an important hypothesis."—Ashley South, Journal of Contemporary Asia

"[An] admirably clear-sighted account."—John Keay, Literary Review

"Blood, Dreams and Gold is a beautifully written, evocative and informative . . . it provides a valuable explanation of Burma’s journey so far. It is an important counterweight to the voices of those who might be tempted to think that simply because of the election result all is now well. Cockett shows that Burma’s path to democracy is only just beginning."—Benedict Rogers, The Tablet

"The best accessible introduction and overview of contemporary Myanmar that I've read."—Bill Hayton, author of The South China Sea