Bangkok-based Reuters correspondent Andrew Marshall has written extensively about Burma. Now over a decade old but still well worth reading, The Trouser People is his entertaining and unsentimental ode to the country, written undercover while posing at a tourist to fool the junta. In it, Marshall traces the intriguing footsteps of roguish English colonialist and scholar George Scott, who supposedly introduced football – a game that Burmese now love because it “is so much like fighting” – to the country more than a century ago. This is a tried, tested and well-trodden travel writing device.
However, Marshall frequently strays off course while venturing into seldom-visited northern regions, thereby sourcing rich material without ever mentioning Scott or soccer. This entertaining, often amusing travelogue is arguably at its most effective when he does.
Andrew Marshall | Penguin Viking | 296 pp | B699