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November 06, 1994|CHARLES SOLOMON

TWILIGHT OVER BURMA: My Life as a Shan Princess by Inge Sargent (University of Hawaii Press: $14.95; 216 pp., illustrated, paperback original). After Austrian-born Inge Sargent married the gentle Burmese student she met in the U.S., she discovered he was the Prince of Hsipaw, hereditary ruler of a state in Northeastern Burma. The royal couple worked to improve the lives of their subjects, eliminating feudal land tenure, developing the region's agricultural and mineral resources and introducing modern health care. Their life together ended in 1962, when the brutal Ne Win regime came to power. The Prince was imprisoned and almost certainly executed, although the government still denies any knowledge of his fate; Sargent was forced to flee Burma with their children. Her memoir bears witness to the charm of the Shan people and the destruction of their happiness by a savagely repressive dictatorship.

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