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Like most travelers in Burma, Norman Lewis fell in love with the land and its people. Although much of the countryside was under the control of insurgent armies—the book was originally published in 1952—he managed, by steamboat, decrepit lorry, and dacoit-besieged train, to travel almost everywhere he wanted. This perseverance enabled him to see brilliant spectacles that are still out of our reach, and to meet all types of Burmese, from District officers to the inmates of Rangoon's jail. All the color, gaiety, and charm of the East spring to life with this master storyteller.
Despite communist incursions and tribal insurrection, Norman Lewis describes a land of breath-taking natural beauty peopled by the gentle Burmese. This is a country where Buddhist beliefs spare even the rats, where the Director of Prisons quotes Chaucer and where three-day theatrical shows are staged to celebrate a monk taking orders. Hitching lifts with the army and with travelling merchants, Lewis is treated to hospitality wherever he stops in this war-torn land, and reveals a country where 'the condition of the soul replaces that of the stock markets as a topic for polite conversation'.
Norman Lewis is England's finest, living travel writer. He has written a dozen travel books, including such masterpieces as Naples'44, The Honoured Society and A Dragon Apparent. He has also written thirteen novels. Lewis regards his life's major achievement to be the reaction to an article written by him entitled Genocide in Brazil, published in 1968. This led to a change in Brazilian law relating to the treatment of Indians, and to the formation of Survival International, which campaigns for the rights of indigenous peoples.
"A wonderfully vivid book" Daily Telegraph
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