The Iron Road by James Mawdsley
A Stand for Truth and Democracy in Burma

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A startling account of an evil regime and one young man's efforts to defy it.

Twenty-eight-year-old James Mawdsley spent much of the past four years in grim Burmese prisons. The Iron Road is his story, and the story of the regime that jailed him, the way it jails, tortures, and kills hundreds of Burmese each day.

Mawdsley was working in New Zealand when he learned about the struggle of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese Nobel laureate who is under house arrest. Outraged, he went to Burma, staged a one-man protest, and was jailed.

There his own amazing story begins. He is tortured, interrogated, released, jailed again. He turns his incarceration into a contest of wits -- going on a hunger strike, toasting the year 2000 with a cigar and "prison champagne," and requesting "1 packet of freedom, 1 bunch human rights, and 2 bottles of democracy." At the same time, he asks himself: What leads those of us in peaceful democracies to ignore others' suffering, just because it is happening "over there," to "them"?

James Mawdsley is a hero in a generation said to lack heroism. The Iron Road -- named for a torture in which skin is scraped from bone with a piece of iron -- is an urgent call for an end to human rights abuses in Burma and is a keen analysis of the totalitarian mind-set. And it is the story, at once moving and terrifying, of how one person can further the cause of justice through sheer will and determination.

About James Mawdsley

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James Mawdsley, born in England in 1973, left university in 1993 to work and travel. He lives in London and plans to enter British politics.
Published August 14, 2002 by North Point Press. 416 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Political & Social Sciences, Religion & Spirituality. Non-fiction

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In and out of trouble with the Burmese government, Mawdsley ultimately chose to become a political prisoner, hoping that the detention of a British citizen would arouse support and concern in the West.

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Publishers Weekly

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In his first book, Mawdsley painstakingly describes his nearly unimaginable experiences as a political prisoner in Burma, recalling almost matter-of-factly the cruelty, deprivation, sorrow, horror and bureaucratic stupidity he endured, and his calculated opposition to authority.

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