Skip to main content Accessibility help
A History of Modern Burma
  • Cited by 63
  • Export citation
  • Recommend to librarian
  • Buy the print book

Book description

Burma has lived under military rule for nearly half a century. The results of its 1990 elections were never recognized by the ruling junta and Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of Burma's pro-democracy movement, was denied her victory. She has been under house-arrest ever since. Now an economic satellite and political dependent of the People's Republic of China, Burma is at a crossroads. Will it become another North Korea, will it succumb to China's political embrace or will the people prevail? Michael Charney's book- the first general history of modern Burma in over five decades - traces the highs and lows of Burma's history from its colonial past to the devastation of Cyclone Nargis in 2008. By exploring key themes such as the political division between lowland and highland Burma and monastic opposition to state control, the author explains the forces that have made the country what it is today.


‘Michael Charney’s new book is a timely and very welcome contribution to the study of Burma or Myanmar. A History of Modern Burma is an accessible, well organized, and extensively researched account of Burma’s recent past by one of today’s leading scholars in the field. At a time of increasing international awareness of Burma, the book will be of interest not only to students and researchers but to anyone wanting to learn more about the country. Dr Charney offers a balanced and factual survey of modern Burmese history, drawing on his deep understanding of the country’s past and a thorough knowledge of the existing literature.’

Thant Myint-U

'An excellent work that deals with the period from the annexation of Upper Burma by the British in 1886 until the devastation of Cyclone Nargis in 2008. The focus is on the period from the 1930s, as self-government was gained in 1937. Charney, Senior Lecturer in the Department of History at SOAS, is well-qualified to write this work and he offers a careful account, one that is particularly nuanced in its coverage of the civil conflict and totalitarianism of recent years.'

Jeremy Black Source: The Historian

'Charney, Senior Lecturer in the Department of History at SOAS, is well-qualified to write this work and he offers a careful account, one that is particularly nuanced in its coverage of the civil conflict and totalitarianism of recent years.'

The Historical Association

Refine List

Actions for selected content:

Select all | Deselect all
  • View selected items
  • Export citations
  • Download PDF (zip)
  • Send to Kindle
  • Send to Dropbox
  • Send to Google Drive

Save Search

You can save your searches here and later view and run them again in "My saved searches".

Please provide a title, maximum of 40 characters.


Burma under colonial rule
Adas, Michael, The Burma Delta: Economic Development and Social Change on an Asian Rice Frontier, 1852–1941 (Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 1974).
Brown, Ian, A Colonial Economy in Crisis: Burma’s Rice Cultivators and the World Depression of the 1930s (London: RoutledgeCurzon, 2005).
Siok-Hwa, Cheng, The Rice Industry of Burma, 1852–1940 (Kuala Lumpur: University of Malaya Press, 1968).
Ghosh, Parimal, Brave Men of the Hills: Resistance and Rebellion in Burma, 1825–1932 (Honolulu, HI: University of Hawaii Press, 2000).
Richell, Judith L., Disease and Demography in Colonial Burma (Copenhagen: NIAS Press, 2006).
Scott, James C., The Moral Economy of the Peasant: Rebellion and Subsistence in Southeast Asia (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1976).
The colonial centre
Bhattacharya, [Chakraborti], Swapna, India–Myanmar Relations, 1886–1948 (Kolkata: K P Bagchi & Co., 2007).
Christian, John LeRoy, Modern Burma (New York: Institute of Pacific Relations, 1942).
Furnivall, J. S., Colonial Policy and Practice: A Comparative Study of Burma and Netherlands India (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1948).
Larkin, Emma, “The Self-Conscious Censor: Censorship Under the British, 1900–1939,” Journal of Burma Studies 8 (2003): 64–101.
Orwell, George, Burmese Days (San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace, n.d.).
Pearn, B. R., History of Rangoon (Rangoon: American Baptist Mission Press, 1939).
Pham, Julie, “Ghost Hunting in Colonial Burma: Nostalgia, Paternalism and the Thoughts of J. S. Furnivall,” South East Asia Research 12.2 (July 2004): 237–268.
Self-government without independence, 1937–1947
Maw, Ba, Breakthrough in Burma: Memoirs of a Revolution (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1968).
Bayly, Christopher and Harper, Tim, Forgotten Armies: The Fall of British Asia 1941–1945 (London: Allen Lane, 2004).
Kratoska, Paul H. (ed.), The Thailand–Burma Railway, 1942–1946, 6 vols. (New York: Routledge, 2006).
McEnery, John H., Epilogue in Burma 1945–1948 (Bangkok: White Lotus, 2000).
Nemoto, Kei (ed.), Reconsidering the Japanese Military Occupation in Burma (1942–45) (Tokyo: Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa, 2007).
Singh, Balwant, Independence & Democracy in Burma, 1945–1952: The Turbulent Years (Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Centers for South and Southeast Asian Studies, 1993).
Tamayama, Kazuo, Railwaymen in the War: Tales by Japanese Railway Soldiers in Burma and Thailand 1941–47 (Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005).
Tarling, Nicholas, A Sudden Rampage: The Japanese Occupation of Southeast Asia, 1941–1945 (London: Hurst & Co., 2001).
The democratic experiment, 1948–1958 & dress rehearsals, 1958–1962
Butwell, Richard, U Nu of Burma (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1968).
Callahan, Mary, Making Enemies: War and State Building in Burma (Singapore: Singapore University Press, 2004).
Mendelson, E. Michael, Sangha and State in Burma: A Study of Monastic Sectarianism and Leadership (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1975).
Nu, U, U Nu Saturday’s Son, translated by Yone, U Law (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1975).
Win, U Sein, The Split Story: An Account of Recent Political Upheaval in Burma (Rangoon: The Guardian Press, 1959).
Tinker, Hugh, The Union of Burma (London: Oxford University Press, 1957).
Walinsky, Louis, Economic Development in Burma 1951–1960 (New York: Twentieth Century Fund, 1962).
The revolutionary council
Cady, John F., The United States and Burma (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1976).
Maung, Maung, Burma and General Ne Win (London: Asia Publishing House, 1969).
Seekins, Donald M., The Disorder of Order: The Army-State in Burma Since 1962 (Bangkok: White Lotus, 2002).
Smith, Donald Eugene, Religion and Politics in Burma (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1965).
Steinberg, David I., Burma’s Road to Development: Growth and Ideology Under Military Rule (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1981).
Thaung, U, A Journalist, a General and an Army in Burma (Bangkok: White Lotus, 1995).
The BSPP years
Hlaing, Kyaw Yin, “Reconsidering the Failure of the Burma Socialist Program Party Government to Eradicate Internal Economic Impediments,” South East Asia Research 11.1 (March 2003): 5–58.
Lehman, F. K. (ed.), Military Rule in Burma Since 1962 (Singapore: Maruzen Asia, 1981).
Smith, Charles B., The Burmese Communist Party in the 1980s (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Regional Strategic Studies Programme, 1984).
Steinberg, David I., Burma: A Socialist Nation of Southeast Asia (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1982).
Toward democracy, 1988–1990
Kyi, Aung San Suu, Freedom from Fear and Other Writings (London: Penguin Books, 1991).
Lintner, Bertil, Outrage: Burma’s Struggle for Democracy (Bangkok: White Lotus, 1990).
Lintner, Bertil, The Rise and Fall of the Communist Party of Burma (CPB) (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Southeast Asia Program, 1990).
Maung, Maung, The 1988 Uprising in Burma (New Haven, CT: Yale University Southeast Asia Studies, 1999).
Perpetual delay, 1990 to the present
Carey, Peter (ed.), Burma: The Challenge of Change in a Divided Society, foreword by Kyi, Aung San Suu (Houndmills: Macmillan, 1997).
Fink, Christina, Living Silence: Burma under Military Rule (Bangkok: White Lotus, 2001).
Rotberg, Robert I. (ed.), Burma: Prospects for a Democratic Future (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 1998).
Seekins, Donald M., Burma and Japan Since 1940: From ‘Co-Prosperity’ to ‘Quiet Dialogue’ (Copenhagen: NIAS, 2007).
Selth, Andrew, Burma’s Armed Forces: Power Without Glory (Norwalk, CT: EastBridge, 2002).
Skidmore, Monique (ed.), Burma: At the Turn of the 21st Century (Honolulu, HI: University of Hawaii Press, 2005).
South, Ashley, Mon Nationalism and Civil War in Burma: The Golden Sheldrake (London: RoutledgeCurzon, 2003).
Steinberg, David I., Burma: The State of Myanmar (Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2001).
Taylor, Robert H. (ed.), Burma: Political Economy Under Military Rule (London: Hurst & Co., 2001).
Tucker, Shelby, Burma: The Curse of Independence (London: Pluto Press, 2001).


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Book summary page views

Total views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between #date#. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.