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MYANMAR

BURMA'S LOST KINGDOMS: Splendors of Arakan, Pamela Gutman, Photographs by Zaw Min Yu

Off the Bay of Bengal, in the northwest corner of Burma, lie the splendid capital cities of ancient Arakan.

Largely unknown to the Western world for much of its turbulent history, Arakan played a pivotal role in the exchange of cultures and religion between India and Southeast Asia. It was from earliest times a cosmopolitan state with a vigorous and mixed culture; Indian Brahmins conducted the royal ceremonials, Buddhist monks spread their teachings, traders came and went, and artists and architects used Indian models for inspiration. Through Buddhism, Arakan came into contact with other remote countries. To the east were the many early empires of Southeast Asia, Burman, Siamese and Khmer, while later came influences from the Islamic courts of Bengal and Delhi.

When the state was at its most powerful its culture was innovative and original, at other times it reflected that of its stronger neighbors. This is a comprehensive study of the history, art and culture of Arakanas well as an introduction to the hitherto almost unknown bronze and stone art of Arakan. It shows how a country can combine various religious traditions, such as Hinduism and Buddhism, to create a rich and layered artistic sense. Full color photographs, lithograph reproductions, maps, time charts, a glossary and an index of plates make this a fine volume to own.
$40.00 (hardcover)

BEYOND THE LAST VILLAGE: A Journey of Discovery in Asia's Forbidden Wilderness, Alan Rabvinowitz

The "Indiana Jones of wildlife science" (the New York Times) takes readers on a journey of exploration, danger, and discovery in Asia's forbidden wilderness at the southeast edge of the Himalayas.

Working under the auspices of the Wildlife Conservation Society, Rabinowitz's goal in visiting this area of Myanmar was to establish a wildlife research and conservation program and to survey the country's wildlife. He succeeded beyond all expectations, not only discovering a species of primitive deer completely new to science but also playing a vital role in the creation of Hkakabo Razi National Park, now one of Southeast Asia's largest protected areas.

As we travel with Rabinowitz through this "lost world," a mysterious and forbidding region isolated by ancient geologic forces, we meet the Rawang, a former slave group; the Taron, a solitary enclave of the world's only pygmies of Asian ancestry; and Myanmar Tibetans living in the furthest reaches of the mountains. We enter the territories of strange, majestic-looking beasts that few people have ever heard of and fewer have ever seen -- golden takin, red goral, blue sheep, black barking deer. The survival of these ancient species is now threatened, not by natural forces but by hunters with snares and crossbows, trading body parts for basic household necessities. The powerful landscape and unique people the author meets and befriends is interwoven in this book with his more personal journey of discovery.
$25.00 (hardcover)
THE TROUSER PEOPLE: A Story of Burma in the Shadow of the Empire, Andrew Marshall

Short-listed for the 2003 Thomas Cook Travel Book Award is an unforgettable adventure story of two journeys, one hundred years apart, into the untravelled heart of Burma.

Part travelogue, part history, part reportage, The Trouser People is an enormously appealing and vivid account of Sir George Scott, the unsung Victorian adventurer who hacked, bullied, and charmed his way through uncharted jungle to help establish British colonial rule in Burma.

Born in Scotland in 1851, Scott was a die-hard imperialist with a fondness for gargantuan pith helmets and a bluffness of expression that bordered on the Pythonesque. But, as Marshall discovered, he was also a writer and photographer of rare sensibility. He spent a lifetime documenting the tribes who lived in Burma's vast wilderness and is the author of The Burman, published in 1882 and still in print today. He also not only mapped the lawless frontiers of this "geographical nowhere"-the British Empire's easternmost land border with China-but he widened the imperial goalposts in another way: he introduced soccer to Burma, where today it is a national obsession.

Inspired by Scott's unpublished diaries, Marshall retraced the explorer's intrepid footsteps from the moldering colonial splendor of Rangoon to the fabled royal capital of Mandalay. In the process he discovered modern Burma, a hermit nation misruled by a brutal military dictatorship, its soldiers, like the British colonialists before them, nicknamed "the trouser people" by the country's sarong-wearing civilians.

Tthis is an offbeat and thrilling journey through Britain's lost heritage-and a powerful exposé of Burma's modern tragedy. 

$26.00 (hardcover)
FROM THE LAND OF GREEN GHOSTS: A Burmese Odyssey
 
 
 

 

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