Author(s): Wendy Law-Yone
At the time of Burma's military coup in 1962, Wendy Law-Yone was fifteen. The daughter of Ed Law-Yone, daredevil proprietor of The Nation newspaper, she'd grown up amidst the perils and promises of a newly independent Burma. But on the eve of her studies abroad, her father was arrested, his newspaper shut down, and Wendy was herself briefly imprisoned before managing to escape from the country. Ed would spend five years in jail as a political prisoner. Yet no sooner was he released and allowed to leave the country than he set about forming a government-in-exile in Thailand where he tried, unsuccessfully, to foment a revolution. Even after emigrating to America with his wife and children, he never gave up hope for a new democratic government in Burma. He died disappointed - but not before placing in his daughter's hands an extraordinary bequest. Ed had asked Wendy for help in editing his papers, but year after year she avoided the daunting task. When at last, decades on, she found the confidence to take up her father's neglected manuscript, she discovered an amazing saga. Here was the testimony of a fiery, eccentric, ambitious, humorous, and above all determined patriot whose career had spanned Burma under colonial rule, under Japanese occupation, through the turbulence of the post-years, and into the catastrophe of a military dictatorship. The result of this discovery is Golden Parasol: a unique portrait of Burma, a nation whose vicissitudes continue to intrigue the world. It is also a powerfully evocative memoir: a daughter's journey of reconciliation that turns shadow into light, illuminating corners long forgotten, or long concealed, in the twin histories of her country and kin.
I found this a great read. The author’s father, Ed Law-Yone, was the proprietor of The Nation newspaper, which he founded after WW2. The book follows his life from before the war, through the brief democratic period under Prime Minister U Nu, and then shows the consequences of the military takeover by General Ne Win. What makes this book especially interesting is that the author and her father knew all these people as friends and neighbours, including former UN head U Thant. This gives the book a particularly fascinating insight into the thoughts and aspirations of these people. Recommended. - Peter
The Tiger's Footprints is Wendy Law-yone's poignant memoir of Burma, her father and his newspaper. Shortly before his death, Ed gave his daughter the manuscript of his autobiography. 'You're a writer, you sort it out,' was the gist of his instruction.
The result is a unique book that blends history and reminiscence, politics and daily life to tell the compelling story of post-war Burma, and of an extraordinary man whose family and newspaper give us an intimate portrait of that troubled nation.