The human rights journalist and author of Irritable Hearts: A PTSD Love Story shines a light on the Karen refugees fleeing Burma’s genocide.
There’s a civil war (the world’s longest running, in fact) raging between the Burmese government and ethnic rebels. But since Burma is a country nearly shut out from the rest of the world, the only footage of the carnage comes via groups of young, tough, booze-loving refugees who run into war zones to collect it.
And with these refugees is where we find Mac McClelland embedded in her staggering debut, For Us Surrender Is Out of the Question. McClelland weaves a narrative that is part investigative journalism, part popular history, and part memoir of a Midwestern, twenty-something girl living with refugee activists on the Burma-Thailand border. Driven by the community McClelland is illegally aiding—a small group of brave young men and women— For Us Surrender Is Out of the Question is an urgent and fascinating look at a weary conflict, told by a bright, new voice.
“Alternately poignant and raucous, angry and heartbreaking . . . McClelland’s reporting is very much from-the-ground-up, far livelier than we will ever get from the average foreign correspondent.” —Adam Hochschild, New York Times–bestselling author
“Any reporting on the notoriously under-documented Burmese war is critical reading; a page-turner like this one is not to be missed.” —San Francisco Magazine</>
“Gritty, informed, passionate . . . McClelland’s gonzo sensibility, big heart, and keen eye for weird details bring this tale of inhuman cruelty and human resilience vividly alive.” —Gary Kamiya, cofounder of Salon