Until the World Shatters: Truth, Lies, and the Looting of Myanmar (Hardcover)

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This first in-depth piece of reportage about the largest natural resource heist in Asia reveals Myanmar's world of secret-keepers and truth-tellers.

     In Myanmar, where civil war, repressive government, and the $40 billion a year jade industry have shaped life for decades, everyone is fighting for their own version of the truth. Until the World Shatters, takes us deep into a world in which journalists seek to overcome censorship and intimidation, ethnic minorities wage guerilla war against a government they claim refuses to grant basic human rights; devout Buddhists launch violent anti-Muslim campaigns; and artists try to build their own havens of free expression.

     In the bustling city of Yangon we meet Phoe Wa, a young photojournalist pursuing his dream at a time when the government is jailing reporters and nationalist voices are on the rise. In Myanmar's far north, we meet Bum Tsit who is caught between the insurgent army his family supports and the business and military leaders his career depends on. His attempt to get rich quickly leads him to Myanmar's biggest, worst kept secret: the connection between the jade industry and the longest running war in the world.

     Until the World Shatters weaves Phoe Wa and Bum Tsit's stories to reveal a larger portrait of Myanmar's history, politics, and people in a time and place where public trust has disappeared.

About the Author

Daniel Combs is an award-winning author and international security professional who has spent the past six years studying Myanmar's ethnic conflicts. In addition to Myanmar, Daniel has lived in and reported from Ethiopia, the Congo, Vietnam, and Israel. He is the former editor of the Asia Pacific Affairs Journal, and his writing and commentary have appeared on NPR, The Diplomat, and Asia Times, among others. Daniel is a graduate of Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs.

Praise For…

"Until the World Shatters is a moving chronicle of a country that was just beginning to reveal secrets." The Economist

"[A]n illuminating portrait of a troubled and secretive country."—Publishers Weekly

"The combination of Myanmar’s ancient culture and a deeply vexed modern history make it one of the world’s most intriguing places. Daniel Combs brings the skills of a keen, observant writer to a superb story. Until the World Shatters will absorb readers of all kinds with a chronicle that makes the distant feel strikingly visible." —Evan Osnos, author of Age of Ambition

"A breezy, sparkling, and often delightful journey with broader lessons for any type of reader. I knew very little about Myanmar before I picked up Until the World Shatters. I tore through it in two days, and now feel like I understand, indeed care for, the country.” —Vincent Bevins, author of The Jakarta Method

"A powerful narrative about one of Asia’s most flagrant crimes: the plunder of indigenous lands in Myanmar. Western writing about Myanmar has long skewed towards exoticism or good-versus-evil tropes. But Combs embraces its complexity — richly illustrating the journeys of two men drawn towards the jade industry, a vortex of stolen riches and ruined lives." —Patrick Winn, author of Hello Shadowlands

 Until the World Shatters covers a country about which too little is known, and even less is understood. Myanmar has a complex and painful history that shapes its troubled present, but Daniel Combs sees things clearly from the ground level through the eyes of people who are seldom interviewed, combining their observations with his own to present a depth and balance that is rare and badly needed.” —David Dapice, Senior Economist, Ash Center, Harvard Kennedy School

"At a time when journalists are under attack and it feels like truth itself is under siege, this book journeys into how this struggle plays out in the everyday lives of people in some of the most under-covered corners of the world. In doing so, Daniel Combs has accomplished something rare: a deeply researched, lyrically told piece of reportage on an essential topic. Anyone who cares about the pursuit of truth should read this book." —Charles Sennott, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The GroundTruth Project
Product Details
ISBN: 9781612198873
ISBN-10: 1612198872
Publisher: Melville House
Publication Date: March 9th, 2021
Pages: 400
Language: English

How to read more

( Birmingham Museums Trust’s Digital Image Resource shares thousands of images that span decades of Birminghams vibrant past)

How To Read More

If you love reading, but for some reason you read less and less, know that everything is fine. It happens.
Our lives today have so many things that distract us - how can we not put books away when all these movies, TV shows, YouTube videos, social networks and endless surfing in online stores are around ...
Yes, it's really hard to resist, but you certainly can!

In this article, we want to share with you some tips to read more often and more successfully.
These are some notes and some practices that we have collected for our SUNDOG BOOKS readers club.
And maybe it will bring more books into your life!

Why do we want/need to read more?

To start reading more, you have to understand why you need it.
And you will be surprised, but your goals can be quite varied:

- for work
If you read a lot on duty, then you definitely need to speed up the process. The logic here is simple: read faster → work faster → more time for books for yourself.

- for education
you need this for your educational career or sometimes you just want to read to learn. And, with all the new alternative ways to gain knowledge (podcasts, online courses and videos), the book still does an excellent job of this task too.

- for self-development
all exercises for increasing speed, one way or another, improve cognition and memory.

- for fun
because good books always = fun!

Book lovers have an additional special goal for reading more often. If you love literature, you will understand what we mean: you want to catch everything - to follow modern literature, and not forget about the classics, look into non-fiction and children's publications. And there’s so much you want to reread! The goals are ambitious, but attainable if you read a lot.


And so - How to read more:
We will tell you about the methods that we use ourselves. Perhaps some will suit you as well.


15 minutes a day

You've probably already heard this rule: if you want to start a healthy habit, devote 15 minutes a day to it. Once upon a time, we all read irregularly, in jumps and starts. Sometimes we cannot open a book we have begun weeks ago. Therefore, you should decide to create a rule: devote at least 15 minutes a day to reading. Try reading before bed, or maybe during lunchtime, or even when you are having your morning coffee.

You will see progress immediately. You will notice that almost always your 15 minutes will grow into half an hour or more. But the most remarkable thing is that in three weeks your hands themselves will be looking for a book.


50 First Pages
This method advises - If the book hasn't hooked you from the first 50 pages, put it aside! Life is too short to read uninteresting books.

It is necessary to change the approach to books. At first it will be hard for you to stop and put the book down. Even if we put the book away, it will seem to reproach us from the shelf, mocking us as quitters. But in the end we should come to one simple thought: if it doesn’t hook your attention, you should not force yourself to read it.

***Fifty pages is not a bad test. Not the most objective, but definitely effective. It helps to determine whether it interests you or not, and whether to spend time on things that do not excite.


Reader's Diary

This should be used to improve the quality of reading - to make it more conscious. For starters, it can be a simple notebook with headings:

  • Author
  • Year of publication
  • Main characters
  • Scene
  • Plot
  • Theme
  • Quotes

And, yes, a reader's diary is not a thing about quantity, but about quality. But, it can also motivate. When you open your diary and start looking at quotes (especially quotes), you immediately really want to read.


Maybe a Book Bet?
Several people can participate. Members of the betting group can come from friends, family, and also your colleagues. And of course you can set your own rules for participation, but we'll give you a simple example:

Everyone in the group should read and review a book over the course of a month with weekly updates. Anyone who does not finish a review buys the book for all other participants for the next month.


Speed Reading

Another effective way to increase the amount you read is speed reading. The logic here is simple - the faster you read, the more books you can enjoy.

*There are many online courses on speed reading, and you can also study on your own using instructional books. But, it is worth noting that this is a serious learning process that will require some effort on your part.



Reading every day is quite attainable, the main thing is to try to make it a habit.
Sometimes, instead of heading for Facebook, try opening a book and soon you won’t even remember why you needed to wander around social media.
And also - don't forget about audiobooks. They are a cool way to take the load off your eyes sometimes and just immerse yourself in the story. Some books are really strong in voice acting.


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