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Naypyidaw, Assam State, Bay of Bengal, Yunnan Province, Rangoon

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Myanmar, officially Union of Myanmar, republic in Southeast Asia, bounded on the west by Bangladesh, on the northwest by India’s Assam State, on the northeast by China’s Yunnan Province, on the east by Laos and Thailand, and on the southwest by the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal. The longest land border is shared with China. Myanmar was known as Burma until 1989; the country’s name was officially changed by the military government that took over in 1988. Yangon (formerly known as Rangoon) is the commercial capital and largest city. The administrative capital is Naypyidaw.


For younger readers

Khng, Pauline. Myanmar. Gareth Stevens, 2000. For readers in grades 4 to 6.

Smith, Roland, and Michael Schmidt. In the Forest with the Elephants. Harcourt Brace, 1998. The working elephants of Myanmar. For readers in grades 3 to 7.

Wright, David K. Burma. Children's Press, 1996. For readers in grades 5 to 8.

Yin, Saw Myat. Myanmar. Benchmark, 2001. For readers in grades 4 to 8.

Art and architecture of Southeast Asia

Dumarcay, Jacques.Trans. Michael Smithies. The Palaces of South-East Asia: Architecture and Customs. Oxford University Press, 1991. Extensive history of the royal architecture of Southeast Asia.

Girard-Geslan, Maud, ed.Trans. J. A. Underwood. Art of Southeast Asia. Abrams, 1998. Scholarly essays cover all regions; copiously illustrated.

Jessup, Helen Ibbitson, and Thierry Zephir, eds. Millennium of Glory: Sculpture of Angkor and Ancient Cambodia. Thames & Hudson, 1997. Lavishly illustrated catalog of major exhibition of ancient sculpture.

Lee, Sherman E. A History of Far Eastern Art. 5th ed. Abrams, 1994. Standard survey of Asian art.

Rawson, Philip. The Art of Southeast Asia: Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Burma, Java, Bali. Praeger, 1967. Thames & Hudson, 1990. Useful one-volume overview.

Strachan, Paul. Imperial Pagan: Art and Architecture of Burma. University of Hawaii, 1990. Scholarly study of Burmese Buddhist art forms.

Van Beek, Steve. The Arts of Thailand. Rev. ed. Thames & Hudson, 1991. Tuttle, 1999. Broad examination of Thai art and architecture.

Southeast Asia: History and Culture

Barnes, Gina. The Rise of Civilization in the East: The Archeology of China, Korea and Japan. Thames & Hudson, 1999. Ancient history and archaeology of Southeast Asia.

Cox, Christopher R. Chasing the Dragon: Into the Heart of the Golden Triangle. Holt, 1996. Portrait of the illegal drug trade in Asia.

Gibney, Frank. The Pacific Century: America and Asia in a Changing World. Scribner, 1992. Survey of modern East Asia.

Girard-Gesian, Maud, and others.Trans. J. A. Underwood. Art of Southeast Asia. Abrams, 1998. More than 250 illustrations accompanied by text.

Guilick, John, ed. Adventurous Women in South-East Asia: Six Lives. Oxford University Press, 1995. Fascinating accounts of the experiences of six 19th-century women in Southeast Asia.

Hall, D. G. E. A History of South East Asia. 4th ed. St. Martin's, 1993. A modern classic.

Keay, John. Empire's End: A History of the Far East from Colonization to Hong Kong. Scribner, 1997. Historical account of the decline of Western colonial powers in Asia.

Leifer, Michael. Dictionary of the Modern Politics of South-East Asia. Routledge, 1995. Begins with brief essays on ten Southeast Asian countries, followed by useful entries covering each region's history, personalities, and institutions.

Osborne, Milton. Southeast Asia: An Introductory History. 7th ed. Allen & Unwin, 1998. General survey presents the region as a coherent whole.

Pluvier, Jan M. Historical Atlas of South-East Asia. Brill, 1995. Well-written presentation of complex data. Includes 64 maps and 72 period descriptions of history.

Reid, Anthony. Southeast Asia in the Age of Commerce, 1450-1680. 2 vols. Yale University Press, 1990-1995. Continuities in the economic and cultural history of Southeast Asia.

Sardesai, D. R. Southeast Asia: Past & Present. 4th ed. Westview, 1997. Southeast Asia from ancient to modern times.

Schmidt, Karl J. An Atlas and Survey of South Asian History. Sharpe, 1995. Includes 96 maps.

Viesti, Joseph F., and Diane Hall. Celebrate! in Southeast Asia. Lothrop, 1996. Portrays customs surrounding 11 Southeast Asian festivals; for younger readers.


Abbott, Gerry. Inroads into Burma: A Travellers' Anthology. Oxford University Press, 1998. Articles and interviews from many writers.

Aung San Suu Kyi. Freedom From Fear and Other Writings. Rev. ed. Penguin, 1995. A collection of writings by the 1991 winner of the Nobel Prize for peace.

Aung San Suu Kyi. Letters from Burma. Viking, 1997. Fifty-two pieces, written from 1995 to 1996 for a Japanese newspaper, paint a vivid picture of the turmoil in Myanmar.

Becka, Jan. Historical Dictionary of Myanmar. Scarecrow, 1995. More than 500 entries, with maps and a chronology.

Clements, Alan, and Leslie Kean. Burma's Revolution of the Spirit: The Struggle for Democratic Freedom and Dignity. Aperture, 1994. Myanmar's political history and the quest for freedom.

Falla, Jonathan. True Love and Bartholomew: Rebels on the Burmese Border. Cambridge University Press, 1991. An impartial account of the war for autonomy of the Karen people against the Myanmar (Burmese).

Khng, Pauline. Myanmar. Gareth Stevens, 2000. An overview that provides detailed explanations of Myanmar's geography, culture, and people. For middle school readers.

Lintner, Bertil. Burma in Revolt: Opium and Insurgency Since 1948. Westview 1994. Reprint Silkworm 2000. Explores drugs, insurgency, and politics in a nation divided by internal warfare.

Mya Maung. The Burma Road to Poverty. Praeger, 1991. An analysis and criticism of contemporary Myanmar military rule and economic mismanagement.

Singer, Noel F. Burma: A Photographic Journey 1855-1925. Kiscadale, 1993. This collection of historical photographs portrays some of the unchanging qualities of Burmese life.

Smith, Martin J. Burma: Insurgency and the Politics of Ethnicity. 2nd ed. Zed, 1999. Detailed and informative look at the country's civil war.


Guyot, James F., M.A., Ph.D. Professor of Political Science and Public Affairs, Baruch College of the City University of New York. Seminar Associate, Southern Asian Institute, Columbia University. Coauthor of The Bureaucratic Polity at Bay.

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Article key phrases:

Naypyidaw, Assam State, Bay of Bengal, Yunnan Province, Rangoon, Andaman Sea, Yangon, Union of Myanmar, commercial capital, Burma, largest city, Southeast Asia, military government, Laos, Bangladesh, Thailand, China, India, republic, west, country

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