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Table of Contents

  • Part I: The Roots of Conflict
    • 1. The Burmese Way to Stagnation and the Crisis of 1988
    • 2. The Peoples of Burma: A Historic and Ethnic Background
    • 3. Order Without Meaning: British Rule and the Rise of the National Liberation Movement
    • 4. War and Independence: 1942-48
    • 5. Insurgency as a Way of Life
  • Part II Insurrections in the Parliamentary Era
    • 6. The Final Seizure of Power: A Country Goes Underground
    • 7. Failure, Retrenchment and the United Fronts: The Communist Movement 1948-52
    • 8. The Battle for Kawthoolei: The Spread of Ethnic Rebellion
    • 9. Revisionism and the 1955 Line: The Prospect of Peace
    • 10. The Collapse of Parliamentary Democracy: Ne Win Seizes Power
  • Part III Insurrections in the Ne Win era
    • 11. Military Rule and Peace Parley
    • 12. Cultural Revolution
    • 13. The North-East Command and the Four Cuts
    • 14. The Failure of U Nu's Parliamentary Democracy Party, Keren Unity and Emergence of the National Democratic Front
    • 15. The War in the North, Opium and the 1980/1 Peace Parley
    • 16. The Nationalities Question
  • Part IV: The 1980s: A Decade of Upheaval
    • 17. The Democracy Upbringing and the CPB
    • 18. The 1989 CPB Mutinies: The End of the road?
    • 19. The War Goes On: The NDF and the KNU
    • 20. A New Cycle of Conflict?: The 1990 General Election and the DAB
    • Part V Burma at the Century's End
    • 21. The 1990s: Deadlock or the Dawning of New Realities?

About the Author

Martin Smith is a leading authority on Burmese politics. He has researched for two decades, reported extensively and made several TV documentaries on Burma.


'An extremely detailed and well-organized look at the country's civil war.'
Times Literary Supplement

'Outstanding. Smith has woven a seamless narrative which interrelates the modern history of the heartland with the hills and finally makes sense of the complex history of the country. He has set a new standard in field research.'
Josef Silverstein, Rutgers University

'Smith's book, with its mass of original information on the post-independence history of the country's regional and ethnic movements, is a landmark.'
Peter Carey, Oxford University

'Smith's book fills a void in Burma studies which will make it the basic reference work for years to come.'
Far Eastern Economic Review

'A masterful documentary history.'
Journal of Asian Studies

'The definitive work on what is indeed the central problem in Burma.'
Pacific Affairs

'For an understanding of Burma's prolonged, continuing and largely unknown crisis no better work is available than this detailed, well-written and informative book.'

'Reportage at its best: expansive in concept, detailed in execution, passionate in its search for truth. An exceptional book.'
Current History

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