10 books like Golden Earth

By Norman Lewis,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Golden Earth. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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From the Land of Green Ghosts

By Pascal Khoo Thwe,

Book cover of From the Land of Green Ghosts: A Burmese Odyssey

"Nearly every night I dream of the Shan State, of Mandalay, of the jungle. The landscapes of my dreams resemble real ones, yet they shift like images on silver screens…" Pascal Khoo Thwe’s mesmerizing biography stretches from his grandmother’s creation stories to civil war and a chance conversation about James Joyce which leads to a new life in Britain. A minor masterpiece.

From the Land of Green Ghosts

By Pascal Khoo Thwe,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked From the Land of Green Ghosts as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The astonishing story of a young man's upbringing in a remote tribal village in Burma and his journey from his strife-torn country to the tranquil quads of Cambridge.

In lyrical prose, Pascal Khoo Thwe describes his childhood as a member of the Padaung hill tribe, where ancestor worship and communion with spirits blended with the tribe's recent conversion to Christianity. In the 1930s, Pascal's grandfather captured an Italian Jesuit, mistaking him for a giant or a wild beast; the Jesuit in turn converted the tribe. (The Padaung are famous for their 'giraffe women' - so-called because their necks are ritually…


Decline of the English Murder and Other Essays

By George Orwell,

Book cover of Decline of the English Murder and Other Essays

No surprise that George Orwell, author of the two defining parables of the 20th century, should be at the top of my list, especially as his five years in Burma attuned him to the suffering of the oppressed. More moving than ‘Burmese Days’ is his short story ‘A Hanging’ in which he watches a condemned criminal walk towards the gallows … and sidestep a puddle. In that fleeting moment Orwell marks the preciousness of human life and the heartlessness of power.

Decline of the English Murder and Other Essays

By George Orwell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Decline of the English Murder and Other Essays as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It was in Burma, a sodden morning of the rains. A sickly light, like yellow tinfoil,
was slanting over the high walls into the jail yard. We were waiting outside the
condemned cells, a row of sheds fronted with double bars, like small animal cages.
Each cell measured about ten feet by ten and was quite bare within except for a plank
bed and a pot of drinking water. In some of them brown silent men were squatting at
the inner bars, with their blankets draped round them. These were the condemned men,
due to be hanged within the next…


The Burman

By Sir George Scott,

Book cover of The Burman: His Life and Notions

Should a Sunday-born man marry a lady born on Wednesday? To bring luck is a house to be built on male, female or neuter foundation posts? George Scott served as Frontier Officer for three decades at the end of the nineteenth century, but his enduring legacy is as a collector and sympathetic chronicler of the old ways in a country ‘where people are small and ghosts are big’.

The Burman

By Sir George Scott,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Burman as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it.

This work is in the public domain in the United States of America, and possibly other nations. Within the United States, you may freely copy and distribute this work, as no entity (individual or corporate) has a copyright on the body of the work.

Scholars believe, and we concur, that this work is important enough to be preserved, reproduced, and made generally available to the public. To ensure a quality reading experience, this work has been…


The Glass Palace

By Amitav Ghosh,

Book cover of The Glass Palace

Amitav Ghosh is one of my favourite historical novelists and his ability to bring his characters to life draws readers into the web of this epic tale. The story begins in Burma in the shadow of the "Glass Palace" in Mandalay, from where King Thibaw has recently been exiled by the British. It then spans an entire century, following the lives of several characters, particularly Rajkumar, who begins as a food-stall assistant and after many years working in the teak forests, he manages to buy a timber yard of his own. If you enjoy this novel, don’t miss the Ibis Trilogy, about the opium trade in China and India.

The Glass Palace

By Amitav Ghosh,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Glass Palace as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The International Bestseller from the Man Booker Prize shortlisted author

'An absorbing story of a world in transition' JM Coetzee

'A Doctor Zhivago for the Far East' The Independent

Rajkumar is only another boy, helping on a market stall in the dusty square outside the royal palace, when the British force the Burmese King, Queen and all the Court into exile. He is rescued by the far-seeing Chinese merchant, and with him builds up a logging business in upper Burma. But haunted by his vision of the Royal Family, he journeys to the obscure town in India where they have…


India's War

By Srinath Raghavan,

Book cover of India's War: The Making of Modern South Asia 1939-1945

This is a ground-breaking book because in telling the extraordinary story of the Indian Army during the Second World War, Professor Raghavan rightly places it firmly at the center of the great victories the Allies achieved over the Japanese in 1945. This book traces the transformation of the Indian Army from a largely domestically focused constabulary of 200,000 in 1939 to a victorious all-arms combat force of well over 2 million men and women in 1945. This army for the first time reflected India as a whole, rather than the pre-war Indian Army which recruited selectively from across India. 

India's War

By Srinath Raghavan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked India's War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

SPECTATOR BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2016, GUARDIAN BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2016

'Authoritative, expansive and incisive...helps restore India to the global twentieth century' Sunil Khilnani

Between 1939 and 1945 India changed to an extraordinary extent. Millions of Indians suddenly found themselves as soldiers, fighting in Europe and North Africa but also - something simply never imagined - against a Japanese army threatening to invade eastern India. Many more were pulled into the vortex of wartime mobilization.

Srinath Raghavan's compelling and original book gives both a surprising new account of the fighting and of life on the home front. For Indian…


The Little Men

By K.W. Cooper,

Book cover of The Little Men

Too many books about war aren’t written by those with any experience of it. This, one of my all-time favorites, was written by a young infantry platoon commander fighting the Japanese in Burma in 1945. It tells of the men usually lost to history – what Cooper describes as the ‘little men’ – and who have no voice in the histories written about their exploits. This isn’t a work of great literature, but Cooper’s focus on the small-scale actions of men fighting men with bayonets, bullets, and grenades brings the reality of arrows on a general’s map to focus. 

The Little Men

By K.W. Cooper,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Little Men as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Burma campaign, in which General Slim's 14th Army halted the Japanese at the mountain passes into India and finally drove them back across the Irrawaddy, destroying them in the process, was among the last Allied victories in World War II. The author of this book served as an infantry platoon and company commander in this historic campaign and this book is based on the notes he made in 1945. He describes patrol engagements, night fighting, company and battalion attacks, and the crossing of the vast Irrawaddy.


Burmese Days

By George Orwell,

Book cover of Burmese Days

A lifelong hero of mine, George Orwell is best known for his political allegories Animal Farm and 1984, but his first published novel, written after a five-year stint as a policeman in Burma, gave an indication of his direction as a writer, with a vicious swipe at colonial attitudes and manners. The main character, John Flory, is a jaded teak merchant who detests the colonial “lie that we’re here to uplift our Black brothers instead of to rob them”. He has no friends at the local colonial club, is unlucky in love and meets a tragic end—all part of Orwell’s drive to “tell it like it is.”

Burmese Days

By George Orwell,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Burmese Days as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Honest and evocative, George Orwell's first novel is an examination of the debasing effect of empire on occupied and occupier.

Burmese Days focuses on a handful of Englishmen who meet at the European Club to drink whisky and to alleviate the acute and unspoken loneliness of life in 1920s Burma-where Orwell himself served as an imperial policeman-during the waning days of British imperialism.

One of the men, James Flory, a timber merchant, has grown soft, clearly comprehending the futility of England's rule. However, he lacks the fortitude to stand up for his Indian friend, Dr. Veraswami, for admittance into the…


The Jacaranda Tree

By H.E. Bates,

Book cover of The Jacaranda Tree

This story, written in 1949, describes the escape of a small group of British and Burmese civilians from the invading Japanese during WW2 and seems perfect material for one of those British 1950s black and white films, showing the British temperament when facing total war – courage, resilience, snobbery, the perpetuation of the class system and petty rivalries even with the threat of a demanding landscape, and a brutal enemy closing in on them. As far as I know it never made the silver screen but you can have fun slotting actors of the time into the different characters.

The writer captures the vivid Burmese country, its taste and smell, its appalling heat and humidity from his own personal experiences and involves the reader in the hopes and fears of the escapees, urging them all on to safety. But who will make it? Who deserves to make it? Who doesn’t?…

The Jacaranda Tree

By H.E. Bates,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Jacaranda Tree as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is a reissue of Bates's acclaimed novel of Burma. During World War II, a small English community are forced to flee when Japanese forces invade Burma. Paterson, the manager of a rice-mill, organises the evacuation and takes with him his Burmese mistress and her young brother. The rest of the party take along their prejudices, their pettiness and their squabbles, and a small enclave of English insularity moves north through Burma. Inevitably, as the journey continues, bitterness, tension and insoluble conflict unfold...Inspired by Bates' period of service in the Eastern theatre of war, "The Jacaranda Tree" skillfully evokes the…


Land of Jade

By Bertil Lintner,

Book cover of Land of Jade: A Journey from India Through Northern Burma to China

Bertil Lintner’s many books on Myanmar were essential background material for me when I lived there doing my own research on the country’s never-ending civil war. Land of Jade is a vivid and insightful study of Myanmar’s conflicts, and my favorite of his works. In 1985, he struck out to walk on foot from India, across northern Myanmar (then Burma), and eventually into southwestern China. The journey was the first (and likely only) time a journalist would undertake such an arduous, dangerous, and unforgettable trek.

His hosts along the way were a bewildering array of rebel groups at war against Myanmar’s despotic authoritarian regime. Accompanying Lintner on the journey was his pregnant wife Hseng Noung, whose photographs of Myanmar’s rugged northern terrain further enhance this incredible travelogue. 

Land of Jade

By Bertil Lintner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Land of Jade as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Gripping record of a now legendary odyssey through northern Burma by reporter Bertil Lintner and family, updated by the author and newly indexed.


You've Changed

By Pyae Moe Thet War,

Book cover of You've Changed: Fake Accents, Feminism, and Other Comedies from Myanmar

I love the boldness of putting “comedy” right there in the subtitle, and Pyae Moe Thet War absolutely delivers. This memoir-in-essays, about being a millennial woman in Myanmar, has one of the strongest voices I’ve encountered in recent essay collections. She writes back against the expectation that racialized and minoritized writers perform their trauma for the reader, or must be restricted to certain topics and tones. You’ve Changed sets a precedent I know other writers will feel empowered to follow.

You've Changed

By Pyae Moe Thet War,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked You've Changed as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this electric debut essay collection, a Myanmar millennial playfully challenges us to examine the knots and complications of immigration status, eating habits, Western feminism in an Asian home, and more, guiding us toward an expansive idea of what it means to be a Myanmar woman today

What does it mean to be a Myanmar person—a baker, swimmer, writer and woman—on your own terms rather than those of the colonizer? These irreverent yet vulnerable essays ask that question by tracing the journey of a woman who spent her young adulthood in the US and UK before returning to her hometown…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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