Pure Gold

from Press News, posted 01/24/2012 - 13:00

Apparently, the hot travel destinations this year are Uganda and Burma – at least according to Lonely Planet aficionados. If true, then sales of a recent NIAS Press book – listed as recommended reading in the latest edition of the Lonely Planet guide to Myanmar/Burma – might be about to explode (or maybe not, given its subject matter).

Let’s be honest, sales of Sean Turnell’s Fiery Dragons haven’t been breaking all records. This is no surprise. It may be a fascinating account of Burma’s financial system – of its banks, moneylenders and ‘microfinanciers’ – from colonial times to the present day and the reviews to date have been uniformly fulsome in their praise, but this is after all a book of greatest interest to economists and their ilk. Lonely Planet readers? Let’s see.

Mind you, someone impressed with the book is Aung San Suu Kyi, who met with the author in recent weeks. He was, she said, her ‘favourite economist’. In a note to me, Sean commented wryly, given the standing of the profession, that might not mean a lot!

Sean Turnell meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi, December 2011

Certainly, no matter if it is recommended by Lonely Planet or appreciated by Aung San Suu Kyi, the simple fact remains that Fiery Dragons is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the country and the rapidly changing situation it faces today.

We are sure that two new NIAS Press titles out soon – Modern China–Myanmar Relations by David I. Steinberg and Hongwei Fan and The Authority of Influence by Jessica Harriden (more about them later) – will add to this understanding in significant ways. Nonetheless, we remain aware that Fiery Dragons remains the gold standard against which all later works will have to be measured.


Press news

  • Aug. 9 2019
    Carol Ann Boshier's book 'Mapping Cultural Nationalism: The Scholars of the Burma Research Society,1910-1935' has been shortlisted for the EuroSEAS Humanities Book Prize 2019. Congratulations!

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