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Burma’s Spring

Burma’s Spring documents the struggles of ordinary people made extraordinary by circumstance. Rosalind Russell, a British journalist who came to live in Burma with her family, witnessed a time of unprecedented change in a secretive country that had been locked under military dictatorship for half a century.

Through her remarkable encounters as an undercover reporter, she unearthed the real-life stories of a rich array of characters and followed their fortunes over a tumultuous era of uprising, disaster and political reform.

From the world famous democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi to the broken-hearted domestic worker Mu Mu, a Buddhist monk to a punk, a palm reader to a girl band, these are stories of tragedy, resilience and hope – woven together in a vivid portrait of a land for so long hidden from view.


"Burma’s Spring is like nothing else written about Burma … I found it compelling, charming and unique. No other book I know of has got under the skin of such a wide variety of Burmese, bringing them to life on the page and allowing them to tell their vastly varied stories of privation and misery followed by tentative hope and improvement. The author was incredibly fortunate in her timing: she covered precisely the most crucial years, when misery and hopelessness were changing into something different. There are wonderful changes of fortune here, most notably the fixer's stunning rise to glory. Russell’s portrait of the king’s grandson is very funny without being nasty, and her fortune teller a fantastic find, with his astonishing clientele. No one to my knowledge has explained Karma so clearly and concisely, with his story of finding a ruby and what happens next."

Peter Popham, Independent, and author of The Lady and the Peacock, The Life of Aung San Suu Kyi:

“Rosalind Russell has written an extraordinarily beautiful, comprehensive and compelling story of Burma in a remarkably human way. This book reveals the human faces behind the epic struggle, unveiling in gripping detail the courageous men and women who have kept the flame of hope alive and continue to lead the fight for real freedom and peace in this beautiful nation. This is a unique book, crafted in an enchanting style – essential reading for anyone interested in understanding Burma today.”

Benedict Rogers, author of Burma: A Nation At the Crossroads.

‘In her memoir, Russell has written authoritatively of the changes that swept through Burma, yet she has done so by focusing on the stories of a series of individuals and looking at how their lives were affected by events. The portraits are insightful and moving… A richer, more nuanced picture of Burma than is often portrayed by a Western media.’

The Independent

‘Burma Spring is an extraordinary vox pop exercise that puts you in touch with what people in Burma are thinking and feeling. This is reportage at its best, listening-post reportage where the reporter disappears and all you can hear are Burmese voices. It’s a remarkable achievement.’

RSAA Journal of Asian Affairs

“The recent, decisive years in Burmese history explored through a series of insightful encounters with a diverse cast of characters ranging from an illegal Burmese immigrant maid in Thailand, an astrologer, girl band, punk rocker, freedom-fighting monk and aspiring journalist (among others) through to NLD luminary Win Tin and Aung San Suu Kyi herself.”

Rough Guide to Myanmar

Rosalind Russell Buy