Under the Dragon: A Journey through Burma


After the brutal suppression of an unarmed national uprising, which cost thousands of lives, Rory MacLean seized the chance to visit Burma. Travelling from Rangoon to Mandalay and Pagan, into the heart of the Golden Triangle, he heard stories of freedom fighters, government censors, basket weavers, farmers and lovers — ordinary people struggling to survive under one of the most brutal and repressive regimes in the world. He met Aung San Suu Kyi, the most courageous woman of our time and the embodiment of all Burma’s hope.

On his journey MacLean exposed the tragedy of a hundred betrayals, giving voice to those too frightened to speak for themselves. In so doing he illuminated a nation of paradoxes woven together like a basket: love and hate, faith and hopelessness, freedom and slavery, kindness and cruelty, selflessness and greed. Under the Dragon is an important, perceptive, historical and heartbreaking portrayal of Burma in the days before the recent reforms, a golden land that was shot through with desperation and fear, but also – in even the darkest places — with beauty and courage.

About the Author
Rory MacLean is one of Britain’s most expressive and adventurous travel writers. His ten books, including UK best-sellers ‘Stalin’s Nose’ and ‘Under the Dragon’, have challenged and invigorated creative non-fiction writing, and – according to the late John Fowles – are among works that ‘marvellously explain why literature still lives’. He has won awards from the Canada Council and the Arts Council of England as well as a Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship, and was nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary prize. He has worked on movies with Marlene Dietrich and David Bowie, and written and presented over 50 BBC radio programmes. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, Rory divides his time between London and Berlin.