Bi­og­ra­phy

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The Lady and the Pea­cock: The Life of Aung San Suu Kyi Peter Popham, Rider Books, $29.95 Peter Popham’s foren­sic bi­og­ra­phy of Burmese pro-democ­racy leader Aung San Suu Kyi is both an ex­plo­ration of her life and a study of a coun­try trapped in poverty by its para­noid rulers. Popham paints a picture of Suu Kyi as a woman of in­tegrity and courage keenly aware of the legacy of her fa­ther, in­de­pen­dence hero Aung San. Draw­ing from in­ter­views, diaries and doc­u­ments, Popham re­counts how her re­turn to Burma in April, 1988, pro­pelled Suu Kyi to the head of a nascent democ­racy move­ment, and how ini­tial op­ti­mism gave way to years of house ar­rest. It’s an im­pres­sive and pre­scient work given her re­lease in late 2010 and the seem­ing thaw in re­la­tions be­tween the regime and the world. Ju­lian Swal­low

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