Ashley South has reviewed Richard Cockett’s most recent book for JCA. Blood, Dreams and Gold: the changing face of Burma is published by Yale University Press (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2016.1145248).
South states that this book represents both “a popular introduction to Myanmar history, politics and culture, [and] an in-depth academic study. Cockett, he says, “provides a number of important insights into this beautiful but troubled country…”. Ashley recently reviewed Taylor’s biography of Ne Win, and he sees similarities in that both author’s adopt a frame that owes something to British colonial administrator and scholar J.S. Furnivall, and his concept of the “plural society.”
Ashley concludes his review with these comments:
Although the analysis of Burma’s transitional period is not always original, Cockett nevertheless draws intention to important issues, for example in relation to the entrenched “crony elites” associated with the previous military government, who still exert great influence. He also makes good points about the continued influence of China…. [I]t is no exaggeration to say that Cockett’s is an important contribution to a small but growing literature on Myanmar in transition – and is all the more valuable for the way that its author links this analysis with a well conveyed understanding of the country’s rich but fragmented history.