The State in Myanmar

The State in Myanmar, by Robert H. Taylor, attempts to draw the complex history of state-making and state perpetuation in Myanmar in one volume. The social and economic forces, as well as international and domestic issues, which have made Myanmar one of the poorest and least understood Asian countries, are discussed. The efforts of Myanmar’s kings, British colonial officials, nationalist politicians, socialist ideologues, and army generals to preserve the state in Myanmar is a history worth attempting to understand on its own terms.

“A substantive addition to [Taylor’s] 1987 version of The State of Burma, [this work] continues the story of the evolution and development of the modern Burmese state to 2008. It is clearly one of the best books (if not the best) published in the English language on the modern state in Myanmar, particularly in terms of evidence, conceptualization, methodology, analysis, and perspective. As such, it has few, if any, equals. In large part, it is because the author is an unassuming and sensitive scholar of the country’s modern institutions for nearly half a century, grounded by frequent and long-term stays in the country that have provided first-hand and unique access to data, individuals, and events. In the latter sense too, the author has few equals. Thus, both his professional and personal experiences have given him the special wherewithal for producing such a work. For scholars and other educated readers genuinely interested in, and concerned about, the affairs and people of Myanmar, this book is required reading.” —Michael Aung-Thwin, University of Hawai‘i

February 2009 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3362-6 / $28.00 (PAPER)