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Than Shwe's Burma
     

Than Shwe's Burma

by Diane Zahler
 

Than Shwe was part of a military coup that took over Burma in the 1960s. The British had granted Burma independence in 1948, but the country, with its many ethnic groups, had trouble building a democratic government. Than Shwe rose through the military ranks, and after the army stepped in to quell demonstrations and riots that began on August 8, 1988, he emerged as

Overview

Than Shwe was part of a military coup that took over Burma in the 1960s. The British had granted Burma independence in 1948, but the country, with its many ethnic groups, had trouble building a democratic government. Than Shwe rose through the military ranks, and after the army stepped in to quell demonstrations and riots that began on August 8, 1988, he emerged as head of the military council. He became one of the most secretive and repressive leaders in the world. Than Shwe uses Burma's resources to finance a strong military. To suppress dissent, his soldiers destroy the countryside, sending people into hiding, refugee camps, or slavery. His control has isolated the country from international observers. In 2007, Internet images of monks being beaten during a protest rally reached the rest of the world. This was followed by reports in 2008 of a devastating cyclone, when Than Shwe banned outside aid for weeks. Both events helped to raise global awareness about the human rights abuses suffered by the Burmese people. In Than Shwe's Burma, learn more about this dictatorship and about Burma's long struggle to become a free nation.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Paula K. Zeller
Burmese ruler Than Shwe's reign of violence and oppression has earned him the number-four spot in Parade Magazine's 2009 "World's Worst Dictators" list. This book, a well-researched addition to Twenty-First Century Books' "Dictatorships" series, traces the historical, political and religious contexts surrounding Than Shwe's rise to power, then continues through his government's meager response to the 2008 cyclone that killed many tens of thousands and affected over two million more. Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been under house arrest for much of the past two decades, is appropriately prominent in this book. The chapter "What Next for Burma?" describes how the country's complex ethnic and political realities make for a future as precarious as its present. Diane Zahler's writing is straightforward and clear. Potentially unfamiliar words, such as "martial law" and "ethnic cleansing," are succinctly defined within the text. Adding even more weight to this presentation of the Burmese people's plight are primary source quotes and eye-opening sidebars. Relevant black-and-white and color photographs appear throughout the text; in a nod to our times, these include a photo of Angelina Jolie distributing balls to children at a refugee camp. Backmatter includes mini-biographies of key figures, a timeline, a glossary, source notes, a selected bibliography, a list of suggested books and websites, and an index. Reviewer: Paula K. Zeller
School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up—Burma (or Myanmar, as it has been renamed by the governing junta) is one of the most closed societies in the world. Than Shwe came to power after the explosive uprisings of 1988 and has largely managed to keep foreigners out. Unlike ideological dictators, he has no agenda other than maintaining close control over the country and the citizenry through oppressive measures covering everything from the distribution of food to travel from one village to another. Zahler outlines the nation's history and ably depicts life under Than Shwe's regime. Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of the pro-democracy movement, receives almost as much attention as Than Shwe. A Who's Who lists major figures mentioned in the text, and sidebars cover topics like Burmese prisons, torture, and the black market. Full-color and black-and-white photos appear throughout. A useful volume, especially given Myanmar's recent coverage in the media.—Rebecca Donnelly, Loma Colorado Public Library, Rio Rancho, NM

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780822590972
Publisher:
Lerner Publishing Group
Publication date:
08/01/2009
Series:
Dictatorships Series
Pages:
160
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Diane Zahler studied medieval history in college. She has written books covering history, language arts, and literature. She is the co-author of Test Your Cultural Literary and the author of The Twenty-First Century Guide to Improving Your Writing and The Black Death.

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