A Savage Dreamland
The first of its kind: an exploration of one of the most mysterious countries in the world, as told by one of the first outsiders to access the country in its entirety
For almost fifty years Burma was ruled by a paranoid military dictatorship and isolated from the outside world. A historic 2015 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 that is home to a combustible mix of races, religions and resources. A Savage Dreamland: Journeys in Burma 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, the old capital, David Eimer travels throughout this enigmatic nation, from the tropical south to the Burmese Himalayas in the far north, via the Buddhist-centric heartland and the jungles and mountains where rebel armies fight for autonomy in the longest-running civil wars in recent history. The story of modern Burma is told through the voices of the people Eimer encounters along the way: former political exiles, the squatters in Yangon’s shanty towns, radical monks, Rohingya refugees, princesses and warlords, and the ethnic minorities clustered along the country’s frontiers.
In his vivid and revelatory account of life, history, culture and politics, David Eimer chronicles the awakening of a country as it returns to the global fold and explores a fractured nation, closed to foreigners for decades. Authoritative and ground-breaking, A Savage Dreamland: Journeys in Burma is set to be a modern classic of travel writing.
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 * [Eimer] is one of the best travel writers to focus on politics and current affairs ... During his researches, he interviewed a large cross-section of Burmese and visited areas normally off-limits, including war zones ... Eimer's wide-ranging portrait of a country in straits as dire as they're prolonged is both fascinating and troubling * Spectator * 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 * [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's informed peregrinations make A Savage Dreamland a fascinating and revelatory read * Irish Times * 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 * A chilling travelogue through modern Burma intertwined with helpful historical context ... Riveting -- Tom Freston * Airmail * Essential reading for anyone with an interest in Myanmar * Mekong Review *
Book experts at your service
What are you looking for?