Charlotte Bence

Tibet: A History

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Sam Van Schaik

Tibet is arguably most famous for its relationship with China, and for the Dalai Lama - but there is a lot more to it than that. You can only understand Tibet in the 21st century if you have an understanding of its fascinating history. Sam Van Schaik's book is a fabulous introduction to that rich history.

Burma's long walk to freedom not over yet

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After spending 15 of the past 20 years under house arrest, Aung San Suu Kyi has finally been released.



Photo: Burma Democratic Concern

This does not herald a major breakthrough for the cause of true democracy in Burma, as has been claimed, and is instead a carefully calculated move on the part of the junta to distract the international community from a sham election designed to rubber stamp the continuation of military rule.

Enemies of the People

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Directors: Rob Lemkin and Thet Sambath; Out now

In July this year Kaing Guek Eav, best known as Comrade Duch under the Khmer Rouge regime, was sentenced to 35 years in prison for overseeing the systematic torture and murder of thousands of people at the S-21 detention centre. With time already served, Duch could be released in 19 years - however, he is appealing his sentence. Comrade Duch's trial was the first, with other leaders of the Khmer Rouge still awaiting trial.

Three Sisters

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Bi Feiyu, Telegram, £8.99

Set in China, Three Sisters is mainly concerned with power relationships and the struggle of three sisters to have control over their own lives after their father's very public fall from grace. Elder sister Yumi uses her dignity and poise to change her fate. Yuxiu uses her looks and younger sister Yuyang her desire for success. But all three struggle against a society that devalues them with tremendous inner strength and resourcefulness.

Vietnam: Rising Dragon

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Bill Hayton, Yale University Press, £20

With more than half of the population under the age of 26, the vast majority of Vietnam's citizens would not remember a time before doi moi (literally "change to something new", but more commonly translated as "renovation") - the name given to economic reforms that took place in 1986 as the Communist Party of Vietnam headed towards a "socialist-orientated market economy".

Vietnam - A Portrait of its People at War

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David Chanoff and Doan Van Toai, IB Tauris; £9.99

Most people are familiar with the US experience of the Vietnam War - the brutalisation of the men who fought it, the resistance movements in universities and the work of the Vietnam Solidarity Campaign. Comparatively little is known about the experience of the war in Vietnam; the story from the other side, the Vietcong and the North Vietnamese, has been virtually ignored. So the view of many in the West is that the Vietnamese resistance was single-minded and heroic or fanatic, depending on the politics of the observer.

Alone In Berlin

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Hans Fallada, Penguin; £20

If standards on this magazine were not, thankfully, significantly higher, this review would merely be a gushing appeal to all readers to read this book as soon as it comes out, pass it on and tell everyone you know to do the same.

Alone In Berlin is quite simply brilliant. The novel centres on the Quangels, a working class German couple who decide to take a stand against Nazism when their only son is killed fighting at the front, and the consequences their small actions ultimately have.

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