2.5 out of 5 stars

In 1991, Aung San Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. She was awarded this for being a steadfast peaceful resistance to the draconian, petty and brutal Myanmar regime. She was under house arrest for 21 years as the leader of the National Defence League. She took all of the threats, disruption and harassment from the and look it back in the face with a wry smile and unlimited courage. She would have her friends and colleagues arrested regularly, her road was frequently blocked, especially if she had been planning to hold a meeting or gathering.

All of these overt and covert attacks would have ground most people down, but she bore it with good grace and resilience. She was sustained by her drive to see the country she loves, one day gain a functioning democracy. In these fifty-two letters, she discusses the problems that they have as a country, describes the plight of those that have suffered at the hands of the regime and the repression of the population. It is also full of minutia, she talks about the weather, taking tea and the festivals that were still permitted.

In some ways I liked this, she speaks with a strong voice and brings to life the country that very few have seen from outside. All the way through she has a very clear aim of bringing urgent and necessary change to the country change all the time she was in custody, an aim that the authorities to every opportunity to frustrate. She was released in 2010 and won the election in 2015. She has not been able to hold the presidency because she is the widow and mother of foreigners – provisions from the constitution that seem to have been written specifically to prevent her from being eligible. She was awarded the position of State Counsellor and wields power from there. She has faced criticism in the past couple of years as she has seemingly deliberately ignored the plight of the Rohingya people and the genocide that they are suffering. It tarnishes what is a good book and until that point a life that should have been celebrated.

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