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Trials in Burma

Maurice Collis

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“This is an unpretentious book, but it brings out with unusual clearness the dilemma that faces every official in an empire like our own.” George Orwell

Trials in Burma recounts Maurice Collis’ experiences as a district magistrate in Rangoon in the late 1920s. The book recounts his gradual realisation that far from administering an impartial system of justice, he is expected to protect British interests.

In a cool dispassionate style, Collis describes how, by choosing integrity over career, he eventually loses his job.

“A brilliant, direct and extraordinarily vivid account of this troubled period…a masterly survey of the Burmese scene.” Daily Mail


Maurice Collis was born in 1889, the son of an Irish solicitor. He entered the Indian Civil Service in 1911 and was posted to Burma, rising to the position of district magistrate in Rangoon in 1929, where the independence of his judgments displeased his superiors who moved him to the position of Excise Commissioner. He returned to England in 1934.…

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