Last year, Burma adopted a new constitution, one which critics claim will keep the military in power for decades to come. This is the first constitution since the prodemocracy protests in 1988. However, once upon a time, Burma's constitution was taken seriously and actually allowed for the stirrings of the rule of law. The country's 1947 Constitution is often, if simplistically, viewed as a sort of golden age for Burmese constitutionalism. Dr. Maung Maung's Burma's Constitution, already almost 50 years old, is still the only comprehensive piece of legal scholarship we have of this constitution, and thus is an important book for any Burma scholar or student of Asian law.
Dr. Maung Maung wrote this book before, in the words of one Burma scholar, he "whored" himself to General Ne Win. Thus, in this book he is full of enthusiasm for Burma's nascent democracy and the 1947 Constitution. He goes to great lengths to demonstrate that the constitution embodied liberal democratic norms. He approvingly cites the Supreme Court in proclaiming that the constitution should be interpreted in a "liberal and comprehensive spirit." Given Dr. Maung Maung's later historical importance, this book provides an interesting, and perhaps unfiltered, insight into his thoughts.