Burma, where George Orwell worked as an official in the Imperial police force, is currently ruled by one of the oldest and most brutal military dictatorships in the world. Around the country posters promise to 'crush all internal and external destructive elements as the common enemy', and a vast network of military intelligence ensures no one says or does anything to threaten the regime. In short, George Orwell's 'Big Brother' is alive and well in Burma. Over the course of a year, Emma Larkin visited the places where Orwell lived, to meet the people who live there today. Starting in the former royal city of Mandalay, she travelled through the moody delta regions on the edge of the Bay of Bengal, to the mildewed splendour of the old port town Moulmein, and ending her journey in the mountains of the far north, in the forgotten town Orwell used as the setting for Burmese Days. The book journeys into the Orwellian land Burma's ruling generals have created, a place in which reality is distorted by censorship and truth is a dangerous commodity. Secret Histories uncovers the reality of life inside this secretive, totalitarian state.
Emma Larkin presents a side to the country that the military government does not want revealed: a hidden world that can be found only in whispered conversations, covered books and the potent rumours wafting like vapours through the country's teashops.