Year published :May 2010

Pages :270 (xiv+256) pp.

Size :14x21 cm.

ISBN: 9789749511916

Than Shwe: Unmasking Burma’s Tyrant

by Benedict Rogers

With a foreword by Václav Havel

6 b/w illus., index

Than Shwe is one of the world’s most notorious dictators, presiding over a military regime that persists in repressing and brutalizing its own people. Until now, his story has not been told. Than Shwe: Unmasking Burma’s Tyrant provides the first-ever account of Than Shwe’s journey from postal clerk to dictator, analyzing his rise through the ranks of the army, his training in psychological warfare, his belief in astrology, his elimination of rivals, and his ruthless suppression of dissent. Drawing on the insights of Burma Army defectors, international diplomats, and others, Benedict Rogers provides a compelling account of the reclusive and xenophobic character of Than Shwe, and life in Burma under his rule.

What others are saying

This book explains General Than Shwe’s extraordinary rise to power—and why it is futile to expect that any kind of “engagement” with his regime will lead to meaningful change and even a modest democratization of this troubled Southeast Asian country. Than Shwe is a tyrant, and tyrants don’t negotiate their own demise. Anyone who still believes that is possible should read this book.—Bertil Lintner, author of Burma in Revolt.

In this path-breaking book, Benedict Rogers shines a light into some of the darkest corners of Burma’s military dystopia, and in so doing exposes the cunning rise of a man who wraps himself in the trappings of Burma’s ancient kings. Meticulously researched, powerfully written, and provocatively argued, this book deserves a place on the bookshelf of all of those interested in Burma, in Southeast Asia, and in the eternal struggle against tyranny and injustice.—Sean Turnell, author of Fiery Dragons: Banks, Moneylenders and Microfinance in Burma

About the Author

Benedict Rogers is a writer and human rights advocate specializing in Burma. Working with Christian Solidarity Worldwide, he has conducted over thirty fact-finding missions to the country and its borders. He regularly briefs parliamentarians and government officials on Burma. His articles have appeared in the International Herald Tribune, Wall Street Journal, Far Eastern Economic Review, and The Guardian. He is the author of A Land Without Evil: Stopping the Genocide of Burma’s Karen People.


  • A timely and penetrating inside look at the life of Burma’s reclusive leader
  • Powerful exposé of the international crimes commited by the Than Shwe regime
  • Vivid account of Than Shwe’s rise through the ranks of the military, the corruption of his family, the widespread rights violations inflicted on his people, and the lives of his rivals, cronies, and potential successors

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Burma | Than Shwe | biography | military dictatorship | politics | current events | human rights | Aung San Suu Kyi

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