A Savage Dreamland: Journeys in Burma
David Eimer journeys to the heart of Burma and out to its unexplored vistas, bringing to vivid life all its riches and complexities.
For almost fifty years Burma was ruled by a paranoid military dictatorship and isolated from the outside world. At this time, Burma became Myanmar without local accord. Eimer sides with the locals by using its original name, refusing to let the nation's history be rewritten. In 2015, a historic election swept an Aung San Suu Kyi-led civilian government to power and was supposed to usher in a new golden era of democracy and progress, but Burma remains unstable and undeveloped, a little-understood country.
Nothing is straightforward in this captivating land-home to a combustible mix of races, religions and resources. Eimer reveals a country where temples take priority over infrastructure, fortune tellers thrive and golf courses are carved out of war zones. Setting out from Yangon, David Eimer travels through this enigmatic nation, from the tropical south to the Burmese Himalayas in the far north. The story of modern Burma is told through the voices of the people Eimer encounters: former political exiles, squatters in Yangon's shanty towns, radical monks, Rohingya refugees, princesses and warlords, and ethnic minorities clustered along Burma's frontiers.
Layers of history are unfurled and innumerable stories are woven together to create a sensitive and revelatory portrait of this mysterious country. Authoritative and ground-breaking, A Savage Dreamland: Journeys in Burma is set to be a modern classic of travel writing.
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"Eimer's journey takes him to all these trouble spots, including many not reported in the West. It's a remarkable achievement because most are off limits to tourists and especially westerners ... The result of Eimer's intrepid endeavours is a revelatory and moving book, enriched by vivid descriptive colour and an incredible cast of characters" --James Holland, The Times
"[Eimer] has served up something refreshingly different: an old-fashioned travelogue, and an excellent one at that ... A rich and enjoyable mix of history, amateur psychology and personal reflection, with a few dabs of investigative journalism too ... [Eimer's] sharp, always well-informed observations help to create a persuasive portrait of a country that remains beguilingly oblivious to Western notions of progress" --Richard Crockett, Literary Review
"Eimer's powerful account reveals a country plundered and brutalised during the colonial era and decades of autocratic rule, while struggling to come to terms with the reality of its present ethnic and religious diversity" --PD Smith, Guardian
"[Eimer] proves to be an able guide, and A Savage Dreamland explores the beauty but also the troubling realities of Myanmar, offering a vivid portrait of a country struggling to overcome its past, but where things may get worse before they get better" --Kit Gillet, South China Morning Post
"Explains wonderfully well why Burma today is both compelling and combustible ... [Eimer's] book is a good primer on history, culture and modern-day politics, and on the power wielded by the Buddhist hierarchy ... If Orwell could read A Savage Dreamland, he would be impressed by this choral-voiced account of a country where so many, for so long, have been silenced" --Michael Kerr, Daily Telegraph
"A chilling travelogue through modern Burma intertwined with helpful historical context . . . A Savage Dreamland is riveting." - Tom Freston, Airmail
"[Eimer] is an intrepid reporter ... He goes to places where tourists, and many journalists, fear to tread ... Eimer's book takes readers closer to his fascinating subject" --Economist
"A luminous journey into the haunted, heartbreaking, dark fringes of the betrayed, golden land" --Rory MacLean
"Eimer gets off the path to describe what most recent tourists have not seen, the less-choreographed version of Burma . . . A Savage Dreamland makes a contribution to the literature on Burma." - Washington Independent Review of Books
"Eimer is a meticulous, fair-minded and empathetic observer, he takes interest in people of all kinds and from all walks of life, and is adventurous and curious enough to go off the beaten track" - Peter Gordon, Asian Review of Books
"Eimer captures the complexities of modern life in Myanmar with a gimlet eye." - National Geographic
"A descriptive look at a struggling country that squeezed itself into democracy after half a century of military rule ... Eimer gives Burma a voice by letting her people tell their stories." - San Francisco Book Review
Praise for The Emperor Far Away: Travels at the Edge of China - -
"Eimer has forged genuinely new ground as he recounts his travels to China's furthest corners ... A fascinating picture of a part of the country rarely examined in the many books on China's go-go economy and fast-changing society" - Daily Telegraph
"Eimer has colourful material ... A well-written adventure in far-flung places that the world needs to know more about if it is to understand China." - The Times