The Lady and the Peacock: The Life of Aung San Suu Kyi

The Lady and the Peacock: The Life of Aung San Suu Kyi

by Peter Popham


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Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi—known to the world as an icon for democracy and nonviolent dissent in oppressed Burma, and to her followers as simply “The Lady”—has recently returned to international headlines. Now, this major new biography offers essential reading at a moment when Burma, after decades of stagnation, is once again in flux.

Suu Kyi’s remarkable life begins with that of her father, Aung San. The architect of Burma’s independence, he was assassinated when she was only two. Suu Kyi grew up in India (where her mother served as ambassador), studied at Oxford, and worked for three years at the UN in New York. In 1972, she married Michael Aris, a British scholar. They had two sons, and for several years she lived as a self-described “housewife”—but she never forgot that she was the daughter of Burma’s national hero.

In April 1988, Suu Kyi returned to Burma to nurse her sick mother. Within six months, she was leading the largest popular revolt in the country’s history. She was put under house arrest by the regime, but her party won a landslide victory in the 1990 elections, which the regime refused to recognize. In 1991, still under arrest, she received the Nobel Peace Prize. Altogether, she has spent over fifteen years in detention and narrowly escaped assassination twice.

Peter Popham distills five years of research—including covert trips to Burma, meetings with Suu Kyi and her friends and family, and extracts from the unpublished diaries of her co-campaigner and former confidante Ma Thanegi—into this vivid portrait of Aung San Suu Kyi, illuminating her public successes and private sorrows, her intellect and enduring sense of humor, her commitment to peaceful revolution, and the extreme price she has paid for it.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9789570839685
Publisher: Lian Jing/Tsai Fong Books
Publication date: 03/28/2012
Pages: 448
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 1.25(h) x 9.00(d)

About the Author

Peter Popham has toured Burma as an undercover journalist several times since his first visit to the country in 1991. A foreign correspondent and feature writer for the Independent for more than twenty years, he has reported from locations around the world, including South Asia. He is also the author of Tokyo: The City at the End of the World. Married, with two children, Popham lives and works in both London and Milan.

Table of Contents

Illustrations xiii

Map of Burma xvi


Part 1 Her Father's Child 1

Part 2 The Peacock's Fan 21

1 Late Call 23

2 Debut 40

3 Freedom and Slaughter 59

4 The Funeral 81

5 Open Road 100

6 Her Father's Blood 115

7 Defiance 129

Part 3 The Wide World 159

1 Grief of a Child 161

2 The Gang of Five 180

3 An Exotic at St. Hugh's 189

4 Choices 204

5 Superwoman 220

Part 4 Heirs to the Kingdom 243

1 Alone 245

2 Landslide Victory 261

3 Long Live Holiness 273

4 The Peace Prize 297

5 Heroes and Traitors 315

Part 5 The Road Map 335

1 Meeting Suu 337

2 Nightmare 350

3 The Saffron Revolution 367

4 The Peacock Effect 381

Afterword 395

Notes 409

Glossary 436

List of Names 437

Further Reading 440

Acknowledgments 443

Permissions 445

Index 447

About the Author 460

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