The River of Lost Footsteps: A Personal History of Burma
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
The River of Lost Footsteps is mainly a straight-forward history of Burma, focusing on the modern period (with about half the book on the last sixty years or so), but including earlier (ancient and medieval)history as well. It is fast-paced, very well-written, and full of colourful, sometimes sad, and sometimes quite funny anecdotes and stories.
The book interweaves Burma's history with the history of the author's own family (on his mother's side, his grandfather was U Thant, the former UN Secretary-General and on his father's side the author is descended from 18th and 19th century Burmese aristocrats and courtiers). It also includes the author's own travels and experiences in Burma and recollection, such as his account of his U Thant's funeral in 1974 which led to a near uprising against the then military government. All this makes the book much more personal and interesting than a straight-forward history.
The author concludes (in the last few pages) which his analysis of present-day Burma and his criticisms of international policy. He is very at times devastatingly critical of the military government but believes that sanctions against Burma are counter-productive and based on a misunderstanding of Burma's problems.
There's a lot of British history this book as well, with a whole chapter on the first Anglo-Burmese war and much on Burma's colonial history and the British withdrawal from Burma in the 1940s. I'd recommend it to any armchair historian with an interest in the British empire, or Asia and certainly to anyone interested in Burma.
kinds of wasteful projects, combined with continued economic mismanagement and debilitating Western sanctions, have set the stage for a peculiarly regressive political economy. With the current boycotts and sanctions in place, Burma simply can’t compete with China or Vietnam or many other neighbors in sectors such as textile production or tourism, even if the right economic policies were in place. So it turns to extractive industries and products—such as energy resources—where there is high
Chittagong fell to the Mughals, marking the end of Arakan’s century-long hold over eastern Bengal. Two thousand Arakanese were sold into slavery, and over a hundred ships were taken. Many of the Portuguese mercenaries at Mrauk-U had changed sides and were permitted to settle in Mughal territory; their descendants still live at a place called Feringhi Bazaar, twelve miles south of Dacca. Some of Shah Shuja’s followers also survived. After his abortive takeover attempt, those who were not killed
style of an Oriental prince and sought alliances with native rulers as a way of increasing French power. His appointment as governor-general was during the War of the Austrian Succession. When the war ended in 1748, without much satisfaction for the French or the English, Dupleix looked for the right chance to strengthen his country’s position against his Anglo-Saxon enemies, including across the bay in Burma. Dupleix knew that Bannya Dala had recently seized power at Pegu. He also knew that
Administration was centralized and made more systematic, old royal agencies were abolished and new ones created, and an entirely new system for financing government was devised and implemented, replacing the traditional and often haphazard arrangements that had grown up organically over the centuries. The idea was that to be modern, there had to be uniformity, definite lines of authority, and clear boundaries of jurisdiction. These were things that had never existed before. The power of the
was that of the Middle Palace queen. Mindon’s chief queen had died some years before, and the Middle Palace queen was the highest-ranking of all the royal women. She was ambitious but had no sons, and so her ambition was to ensure that one of her daughters be the most senior wife of whoever next ascended the Konbaung throne. She too wanted a pliant prince, and her choice was the prince of Thibaw, the son of Mindon by a relatively inconsequential queen. Unknown to some, Thibaw was then already in