Than Shwe’s Biography To Be Published Next Month
21 April 2010: Benedict Rogers’ book Than Shwe: Unmasking Burma’s Tyrant is to be published by Silkworm Books next month, May 2010, with a foreword by Vaclav Havel, former President of Czech Republic.
The book includes some historical context, particularly about the events in Burma in the 1930s and 1940s during the period in which Than Shwe was growing up, as well as quite a lot of background to the Tatmadaw, military training, Ne Win’s coup and the BSPP period.
It looks at Than Shwe’s rise through the military, including his time at the Central Party School and working in psychological warfare, his promotion to South-West Regional Commander and then his rise to the very top. It also includes extensive sections on the nuclear programme, biological and chemical weapons, drugs, Naypyidaw, the influence of Than Shwe’s business cronies and Than Shwe’s personality.
A book review by Bertil Lintner, author of Burma in Revolt, reads: “This book explains General Than Shwe’s extraordinary rise to power—and why it is futile to expect that any kind of ‘engagement’ with his regime will lead to meaningful change and even a modest democratization of this troubled Southeast Asian country. Than Shwe is a tyrant, and tyrants don’t negotiate their own demise. Anyone who still believes that is possible should read this book.”
This is the very first time a biography of Burma’s top living dictator, Than Shwe, has been written.
Zoya Phan, author of Little Daughter and Karen political activist from Burma, said: “A fascinating read, showing how a man from such an ordinary background can go on to become one of the world’s most brutal dictators. I have been on the receiving end of Than Shwe’s brutal rule, forced to flee my country. This book helped me understand more about the man responsible for years of attacks and abuses against my people.”
The book will be available in bookstores in South-East Asia, especially Thailand, from May, and can be ordered from www.silkwormbooks.com. From July, I hope, it will be available in Europe, the US and other markets and on amazon.com.
A book launch event will be held in Thailand on July 1 at the FCCT in Bangkok, and then two events in London in July.
Benedict Rogers, East Asia Team Leader of Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), is a writer and human rights advocate specializing in Burma. He has conducted over thirty fact-finding missions inside the country, and reluglarly briefs parliamentarians and government officials on Burma.
Van Biak Thang