WHERE CHINA MEETS INDIA
Farrar, Straus and Giroux and Faber & Faber 2011
China and India have always been seperated not only by the Himalayas, but also by the impenetrable jungle and remote areas that once stretched across Burma. Now this last great frontier will likely vanish - forests cut down, dirt roads replaced by superhighways, insurgencies ended - leaving China and India exposed to each other as never before. This basic shift in geography is as profound as the opening of the Suez Canal and is taking place just as the centre of the world's economy moves to the East.
Thant Myint-U has travelled extensively across this vast territory, where high-speed trains and gleaming shopping malls now sit alongside the last remaining forests and impoverished mountain communities. In Where China Meets India he explores the new strategic centrality of Burma, the country of his ancestry, where Asia's two rising giant powers - China and India - appear to be vying for supremacy.
Part travelogue, part history, part investigation, Where China Meets India takes us across the fast-changing Asian frontier, giving us a masterful account of the region's long and rich history and its sudden significance for the rest of the world.
...an engaging combination of history, contemporary travelogue and personal and family recollections... a rich, loving, but tragic portrayal of Myanmar
The New York Times
Thant revels in stories of the past ... and becomes a sort of time traveler, wise and solitary, as he takes in the glass storefronts and plasma screens but also reflects on the world that has passed. At such moments, when his writing is shot through with a sense of history, the book possesses a heartfelt and welcome optimism, giving voice to a desire for connections that exceeds all notions of foreign policy, geopolitics or business and becomes, instead, about people encountering each other in all their glorious difference.
Siddhartha Deb in The Guardian
A bold thesis that puts Burma at the geopolitical heart of Asia.
The Wall Street Journal
...as Thant Myint-U makes clear in Where China Meets India, one thing is not in doubt: Burma’s days as a neglected backwater are over.
The Financial Times
A superb introduction to this region and the way Burma will play a key role in the emerging relationship between India and China. Thant Myint-U’s book is quietly optimistic about the future of Burma, and he leaves his reader to ponder the extraordinary geographical changes under way on the Asian mainland
The Times Literary Supplement
As a long-time student of Burmese history, geography and political affairs there is no one for whom I have greater respect or whose opinion I value more highly than Thant Myint-U. Many people understand the problems that Burma faces. Few can articulate a vision for solving those problems. Thant Myint-U is one of those few.
Senator Jim Webb, United States Senate
A brilliant study of Myanmar from the perspective of relations with its two largest neighbours... This magnificent book maps the extraordinary complexities of economy, politics, ethnicity and history bound up with the China-India border. Its plan of three journeys provides a framework for marshalling an enormous amount of description and detail. It is beautifully written and is much less daunting to read than its size suggests....The book is more like a thriller than a tragedy
Chris Baker in the Bangkok Post
Thant Myint-U... is in a perfect position to comment on the past, present and future of a country whose fate lies in the palms of its boisterous neighbours, and he does so in this fascinating book with skill and rare insight into the landscape of the 21st century.
The Irish Examiner