For Us Surrender Is Out of the Question: A Story from Burma's Never-Ending War

For Us Surrender Is Out of the Question: A Story from Burma's Never-Ending War

by Mac McClelland
     
 

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There are bad things going on in Burma that you don’t know about. There’s a civil war (the world’s longest running, in fact) raging between the government and ethnic rebels. Much of the United States’ heroin comes from there. And there’s the small matter that America helped make it all possible with overt funding and the CIA’s

Overview

There are bad things going on in Burma that you don’t know about. There’s a civil war (the world’s longest running, in fact) raging between the government and ethnic rebels. Much of the United States’ heroin comes from there. And there’s the small matter that America helped make it all possible with overt funding and the CIA’s very first secret war. Of course, you wouldn’t know any of this, because Burma is a country nearly shut out from the rest of the world, with the only footage of the carnage coming via groups of young, tough, booze-loving refugees who run into war zones to collect it. And with these refugees is where we find Mac McClelland embedded in her staggering debut, For Us Surrender Is Out of the Question. McClelland weaves a narrative that is part investigative journalism, part popular history, and part memoir of a Midwestern, twentysomething girl living with refugee activists on the Burma-Thailand border. Driven by the community McClelland is illegally aiding—a small group of brave young men and women—For Us Surrender Is Out of the Question is an urgent and fascinating look at a weary conflict, told by a bright, new voice.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The problems in Myanmar (formerly Burma) overflow its borders: thousands of Karen minority men and women have fled to Thailand, where they live difficult, often seemingly hopeless lives in refugee camps. American journalist McClelland (Mother Jones) spent time teaching English in 2006 at an NGO-sponsored program in the border region of Thailand. She writes passionately and sometimes entertainingly about the friendships she established with the refugees from Myanmar, over many beer and vodka sessions, and concludes with a depressing account of the disappointments some face when they are finally lucky enough to emigrate to America. VERDICT This is more McClelland's memoir than about the conditions in Myanmar itself and the complex political and economic factors that continue to boil there. For good coverage of those topics, see books such as David I. Steinberg's Burma/Myanmar: What Everyone Needs To Know. A worthy alternative choice for lay readers and scholars invested in the subject.—Harold M. Otness, Southern Oregon Univ., Ashland

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781593762650
Publisher:
Soft Skull Press, Inc.
Publication date:
02/16/2010
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
5.64(w) x 8.22(h) x 1.06(d)

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