[Reading] ➻ Under the Dragon: Travels in a Betrayed Land By Rory MacLean – Motyourdrive.co.uk

10 thoughts on “Under the Dragon: Travels in a Betrayed Land

  1. says:

    This book fails to convince I mean, perhaps I m wrong and the author has based everything in solid fact but OK, it starts with the claim of arriving in Yangon on the wrong flight having meant to go to a different country well before the country opened up and apparently being allowed to hang out, make lifelong friends and see the place for a week Really If you arrive without a visa now, you get sent right back, so I d have liked to know just how the author managed that.I don t believe that happened I don t believe in any of the interpolated Big Book of Suffering stories of Myanmar people, all of which are presented as fact without any info on how he knows them I don t believe in two thirds of the reported meaningful conversations The McGuffin of searching for the maker of a century old basket was a clumsy hook to give it much needed structure, except the structure was dumb Add in a healthy dose of snobbery towards both fellow travellers and Myanmar people who didn t meet the author s lofty standards of humanity, and this really was not a piece of work I can recommend I mean, if you re going to make up short stories, fine, but don t sell it as non fiction, that s all Because claiming to know the country based on what appears to have been about a month s holiday to the main tourist spots is unconvincing, and the interpolated personal stories of human tragedy reeked of appropriation in the cause of Meaningful Travel Writing God knows those stories are there to be told but I didn t trust this book as far as I could throw it which was across a Bagan hotel room, since you ask.

  2. says:

    I have looked at some of the other reviews and been puzzled by the struggle people have with this book What the book is NOT about is finding a basket The basket is merely a symbolic tool whether or not they were actually looking for one What is the basket in this book It is a weaving of people and a lost history which is being searched for They go from region to region, always looking for this lost craft and use the whole country to weave their own understanding of Burma, a basket that contains Along the way, the stories are held together by interlocking common humanity and pain Further, the writing is incredibly sensitive and evocative I think one has to want to understand about Burma Myanmar to enjoy this book, but I can say that having been there recently, this helped me understand a lot about the overwhelming kindness of the people, their honest hospitality, and perseverance I was able to understand about why currency is such an issue for them because it is entrusting stability to outsiders where it had been lacking internally and betrayed so bitterly The tourist bears a lot of responsibility when traveling to Myanmar now whether he or she realizes it, and this book shows why It will be interesting to see what the future holds for a place which still does not have Starbucks, MacDonalds, or ATMs in smaller towns At the time this was written, Burma was still under a oppressive fist, and Aung San Suu Kyi is no longer under arrest as she basically was then So, things are changing Hotels are still springing up because there aren t enough in some areas, driving the room cost up compared to the standard one might expect in other places But this book shows a time when it was still almost impossible to get into certain parts of the country without special permission which is still true to a certain extent Some areas, quite frankly, are still dangerous, but I doubt one would have the kind of adventure the author had to get where he and his wife were going.Read this book for its artistry and for its pathos Throughout the reading, I could feel the spaces and the five senses There is beauty and discomfort Everywhere there is betrayal of some kind, but there is love, hope, loss, and acceptance For anyone about to travel to Myanmar or even been there already, I recommend this book than George Orwell because this will give a stronger understanding of the present we find the country coping with, but one has to read past the superficial story for the heart of Myanmar people.

  3. says:

    The characters in this book came to life for me in MacLean s writing His travelogue story telling left out much of his own trials of such a difficult journey unlike many other authors tend to include and focused his every word on the sentiments, worries, tribulations, and often hopeless acceptance of the country s painful story I have travelled to Burma with my mother so that she could revisit her childhood These stories are real The fearful silence of the people is real, tangible The way MacLean tied it all together in search of this basket how beautiful I wish I could only thank him for putting a voice to all their struggles I would point out, that although Aung San Suu Kyi has given much hope to these people, she has been less than helpful and possibly complicit of the genocide of the Rohingya population I believe this has come out after the publication of this book But I needed to mention this.

  4. says:

    I thought this book struggled to find its identity I read one review stating that it smacked of a ruse to traipse all the way through Burma in search of a copy of a 100 year old basket, and I tend to agree I just didnt really see the point of that side story other than to justify how their route was chosen through the various origins suggested by randomly encountered strangers The fictionalised stories of the people met along the way were nicely written, and provide poignant points of clarity to the reader to gain some clear snapshots of the brutality and harshness of the regimes over the past 60 years, but I found the actual recounting of history itself could have been chronological to make it accessible at least to one with so little background knowledge of events as I I read this book as an introduction to a country I may be working in over the coming years, and I feel it was certainly worthwhile on that front, but in literary terms I think it struggles.

  5. says:

    It took a hundred or so pages in for this book to win me over anything with three or stars from me is something I would recommend because I disliked the premise of the main narrative and the slow pace of its unfolding Ultimately, though, the prose is lovely and memorable, and many of the Burmese characters flashbacks the stories within the story are haunting and compelling I also really liked learning about the landscape and its history I did find myself wondering from time to time to what extent this kind of travel writing by Western outsiders is inherently problematic the way so much traditional non fictional anthropology is All in all though, a worthwhile, and relatively short, read.

  6. says:

    Although I expected to read a travalogue, perhaps the publicity following the book s association with William Dalrymple set the expectation too high for this book to meet While it is no doubt a well written description of the travel in Burma, the reason for the journey just does not come across as credible at all There are a lot of things one could look for in Burma, but of all things a basket It would have done the author a great deal of good and spared the readers a ton of misery if only Rory MacLean had read Roy Moxham s The Great Hedge of India.

  7. says:

    For me this book failed because it s not one thing or the other It s not a great travel book, it s not a great insight into Burma or the Burmese, it s not an entertaining story I struggled to make myself finish it, there just didn t seem to be any point to it I ve given it two stars because it is readable and the cover is nice.

  8. says:

    I found this a dull and unconvincing tale of a supposed search for a specific woven basket The text lacks definition drive and continuity and compares poorly to other books i have read by the same author

  9. says:

    More of a collection of short stories linked by the story of a traveling British couple in the 90s All the stories are well told, and the engaging writing is probably of a highlight than the content of the stories themselves However, it seemed that the book s insights were mostly those of a western mind looking to understand Burma I think I was hoping for a different perspective, but still enjoyed the book quite a bit.

  10. says:

    Rory Maclean s writing takes you to Burma His insights are invaluable to understand the lives and minds of the people He writes with objectivity and feeling from all senses It really is a journey from start to finish.

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Under the Dragon: Travels in a Betrayed Land download Under the Dragon: Travels in a Betrayed Land, read online Under the Dragon: Travels in a Betrayed Land, kindle ebook Under the Dragon: Travels in a Betrayed Land, Under the Dragon: Travels in a Betrayed Land 28afaa37b91b The Memory Of A Brief Visit To Burma Had Haunted Rory MacLean For Years A Decade After The Violent Suppression Of An Unarmed National Uprising, Which Cost Thousands Of Lives And All Hopes For Democracy, He Seized The Chance To Return Travelling From Rangoon To Mandalay And Pagan, Into The Heart Of The Golden Triangle, He Hears Stories Of Freedom Fighters, Government Censors, Basket Weavers, Farmers And Lovers Ordinary People Struggling To Survive Under One Of The Most Brutal And Repressive Regimes In The World Under The Dragon Is A Perceptive And Heartbreaking Portrayal Of Contemporary Burma, A Country That Is Shot Through With Desperation And Fear, But Also Blessed Even In The Darkest Places With Beauty And Courage