Burma has often been portrayed as a timeless place, a country of egalitarian Buddhist villages, ruled successively by autocratic kings, British colonialists and, most recently, a military dictatorship. The Making of Modern Burma argues instead that many aspects of Burmese society today, from the borders of the state to the social structure of the countryside to the very notion of a Burmese identity, are largely the creations of the nineteenth century - a period of great change - away from the Ava-based polity of early modern times, and towards the 'British Burma' of the 1900s. The book provides a sophisticated and much-needed account of the period, and as such will be an important resource for policy makers and students as a basis for understanding contemporary politics and the challenges of the modern state. It will also be read by historians interested in the British colonial expansion of the nineteenth century.
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