Burmese History Book Reviews
|Title:|| ||"Myanmar Meanderings" -- a review by David Scott Mathieson of Robert Taylor's "The State in Myanmar"
|Date of publication:|| ||August 2009|
|Description/subject:|| ||"In the aftermath of the 1988 uprising in Burma, a new generation of military autocrats decided a makeover was in order. The rebranding of the Union of Burma into the Union of Myanmar in 1989 was as much to confuse memory in the wake of the mass killings of protestors by the army as it was to stamp a new look on the repression that had occurred since 1962.
One of the military government's leading chroniclers is the academic Robert Taylor, whose landmark book "The State in Burma" was released in 1987 and gets its own rebranding in the updated "The State in Myanmar"
by Robert H. Taylor. National University of Singapore Press, 2009. P 540...
Taylor has been widely maligned for his conclusions in the first book, whose final paragraph declares "for better or worse the state is accepted as inevitable" and that despite dissatisfaction amongst many Burmese with the ruling Burma Socialist Program Party, its disastrous economic management and reclusive foreign affairs, the system itself was in more or less sound shape.
This was repudiated not just by the popular uprising that rocked Burma several months after the book's release, but by the architects of the socialist system itself. They included Burma's strong man Ne Win, who admitted not just to the system's unpopularity but also to its unsustainability under modern conditions. The socialist system was swept away and multi-party democratic elections promised.
The disagreements created by "The State in Burma"shouldn't necessarily detract from its sweep of Burmese political history, at the time unprecedented since the work of the colonial scholar J S Furnivall..."|
|Source/publisher:|| ||"The Irrawaddy" Vol. 17, No. 5|
|Date of entry/update:|| ||26 December 2009|