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Perfect Hostage
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Perfect Hostage (Hardback)

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Like Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi has become an iconic figure. Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, she has steadfastly opposed Burma's brutal military regime, instituted by General Ne Win in 1962, since 1988. But her leadership of the Burmese democracy movement, and her ardent advocacy of human rights, have landed her in desperate trouble. In 1989 she was placed under house arrest for the first time. Today she is again under house arrest, seemingly for good. In the years between she has faced constant physical and psychological harassment. In 2003, during an attempt on her life at Depayin, she witnessed the massacre of scores of her followers. Aung San Suu Kyi has also endured involuntary separation from her family - her English husband Dr Michael Aris, and their two sons. Aris' death in 1999 was yet another cruel twist of the knife. But having given her commitment to her people, nothing can deflect Suu Kyi from the course she has adopted. Crucially, her martyred father - General Aung San - led Burma to independence from the British.

But if Aung San's legacy has profoundly affected his daughter's choices, so too has the disciplined upbringing given her by her widowed mother, Daw Khin Kyi. Justin Wintle gives us the fullest biography of Aung San Suu Kyi to date, asking searching questions along the way. Is Aung San's status as hero really vouchsafed? And is Aung San Suu Kyi's insistence on non-violence really best calculated to bring down a junta incapable of acting in good faith? There are no easy answers. But by also telling her father's story, and, vitally, the story of the Burmese people at large, Wintle lays bare the ambiguities which nourish a tragedy that is national as well as personal.

Justin Wintle was educated at Stowe School and Magdalen College, Oxford, where he holds degrees in Modern History. The many books he has written include Romancing Vietnam: Inside the Boat Country, The VietNam Wars, Furious Interiors: Wales, R. S. Thomas and God and the Rough Guide histories of China, Islam and Spain. The most recent of several reference works he has compiled and edited is the two-volume New Makers of Modern Culture. He has been a regular contributor to the Financial Times, the Sunday Times and The Independent, and in 1998 he became the recipient of an Arts Council Writers' Award. He lives in London.

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