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Word Count: 735
All ball no trousers The Trouser People The Quest for the Victorian Footballer Who Made Burma Play the Empires Game Andrew Marshall 320pp Viking It must have been a boon for Burmas ruling junta when world events diverted attention from their tortured country Since September 11 the western press has had no scope for anything other than a passing glance at the progress of talks between the army government and the democratic leader Aung San Suu Kyi and the activities of Burmas drug barons in the Golden Triangle But even in quieter times the lot of the ordinary Burmese people - as well as the Shan Kayan Palaung and Wa to list just a few of the countrys bewildering array of ethnic groups - has remained largely unreported In the tradition of Gavin Young and Nigel Barley Andrew Marshall wrote his book around a journey in the footsteps of an intriguing historical figure Sir James George Scott one of 19th-century Britains most colourful and scholarly adventurers who wrote extensively about the country Along the way the author offers a heart-rending view of what life holds for those in the grip of Burmas military dictatorship His passing comments on the minefield that is current Burmese politics might leave the military men of Myanmar the Burmese armys official name for their country cringing - not least a description of Khin Nyunt the de facto chief as Burmas Poo Bah Big Brother and it was rumoured most prominent closet homosexual Marshall a British journalist based in Bangkok has a wry often funny take on things that makes his observations all the more poignant On the face of it The Trouser People appears to be a jolly romp through a former colony ostensibly hand in hand with Scott who on his adventures introduced football to Burma Yet fans of soccer history will be disappointed Marshall peppers his book with football anecdotes where he can but you get the
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