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Methodist missionaries in colonial and postcolonial Upper Burma, 1887–1966

The first British Methodist missionaries came to Upper Burma in 1887 and the last left in 1966. They were known as 'Wesleyans' before 1932 and afterwards as 'Methodists'. This book is a study of the ambitions, activities and achievements of Methodist missionaries in northern Burma from 1887-1966 and the expulsion of the last missionaries by Ne Win. Henry Venn, the impeccably evangelical Secretary of the Church Missionary Society (CMS), was the most distinguished and inspiring of nineteenth-century mission administrators. Wesleyan missionaries often found property development more congenial than saving souls. In Pakokku in December 1905, a 'weak' American missionary from Myingyan and a couple of Baptist Burman government officials began 'totally immersing' Wesleyans. Proselytism was officially frowned upon in the Indian Empire. The Wesley high schools were extraordinarily successful during the early years of the twentieth century. The Colonial Government was investing heavily in education. A bamboo curtain descended on Upper Burma in May 1942. Wesley Church Mandalay was gutted during the bombing raids of April 1942 and the Japanese requisitioned the Mission House and the Girls High School soon afterwards. General Ne Win was ruthlessly radical in 1962. By April 1964 Bishop was the last 'front-line' Methodist missionary in Upper Burma and the last European of any sort in Monywa. The book pulls together the themes of conflict, politics and proselytisation in to a fascinating study of great breadth.

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research and with a list of certain areas that interested me, broadly following the themes of this book’s chapters: expecting bombing, experiencing bombing, explaining bombing and evaluating bombing. The book is therefore influenced by my initial conceptualisation of the shape of a bombing experience, and by what people told me; this also explains some of the gaps. For example, where is the Catholic Church in this study? It was involved in the aftermath of air raids, but nobody I spoke to mentioned the Church’s role. They spoke of their own prayers and of God, but not of

in French children under the Allied bombs, 1940–45
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BoulogneBillancourt and Lille but not in Brest where there were no official shelters beyond the town centre and the arsenal. In Saint Martin, Andréa Cousteaux said ‘we’d shelter under the church’. There they felt safe, even after Allied bombing began, as they believed their church was a useful landmark that the bombers would not destroy – showing a common but misplaced faith in the bombers’ aim and accuracy. Jean Pochart’s father built on their farm ‘a well-covered trench under a haystack’. In Saint-Pierre-Quilbignon, the Le Turquais family doubted the safety of their cellar, so

in French children under the Allied bombs, 1940–45

the threat, while Édith’s mother downplayed it. The frequency of alerts required creative solutions at school. The teachers at Bernard Lemaire’s school in Lille got tired of interruptions, and so ‘they set up classrooms in the basement’. Many schools did not have cellars. For Sonia Agache in Hellemmes, the shelters were ‘behind the school in the park [where] they’d dug some trenches’, whereas Josette Dutilleul, elsewhere in Hellemmes, went ‘under the church where they’d strutted the cellars’. In Aulnoye, Jean Denhez said his teacher ‘made us leave the school and lie

in French children under the Allied bombs, 1940–45
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bombing of Brest on 24 July 1941. In the heat of the alert: ‘We were on the ramparts, here and there. And then, I couldn’t find my mother. Oh, I was frantic.’ Cécile was only separated for a moment – like Michèle – but that moment fixed the panic in her memory, and make it (rather than bombs) the centre of the anecdote. Parents were not, however, the only source of reassurance and protection. The boys at the Saint-Pierre-Quilbignon patronage (a church-run youth club) were at the beach on 24 July 1941. As the bombs fell, Henri Le Turquais said ‘we huddled up close

in French children under the Allied bombs, 1940–45

, churches, homes’.16 Propaganda suggested that the bombers were Jews, they were supported by Jews and that they were furthering the aims of global Jewish capitalism. Wishing for the bombers’ victory was to wish for ‘total dominance of shady plutocracy, the City, Jews, Freemasons’, and thus a return of Blum, Mandel, and Reynaud ‘and behind them’, in a tortuous twist of logic, ‘Bolshevik revolution’.17 La France Socialiste warned that the Bolsheviks would capitalise on ‘a restless atmosphere, born of poverty and hunger’ in the aftermath of air raids.18 Anti

in French children under the Allied bombs, 1940–45
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A conclusion

; furthermore, caring relations between friends and neighbours, cemented by the shared threat, extended this emotional drive beyond family into community. On the streets of Brest, as in many other French towns, the impact of bombing is still clear. Gone are the buildings of a pre-war past; the main square, the reconstructed town hall and the church are stark and angular, with monuments commemorating fallen servicemen prominently positioned. Few Brestois now remember Brest ‘as it was’; those who do point out landmarks from days gone by, days when, Andréa Cousteaux said

in French children under the Allied bombs, 1940–45
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. Attacks on the rail network continued after D-Day: that of 22 June 1944 resulted in the destruction of about sixty-five streets in south-east Lille, the Saint-Sacrement church, Denis Diderot technical college, 1,200 houses and twenty-two factories. About 170 people were killed. Churchill had set a ceiling of 10,000 French fatalities for the Transportation Plan; the Nord-Pas-de-Calais provided a fifth of them during April and May 1944.88 The twelve people I  interviewed in the Lille area came mostly from working-class backgrounds, reflecting the populations of the

in French children under the Allied bombs, 1940–45
A tough but necessary measure?

unlawful any gathering of fifty or more persons: That all Meetings, of any Description of Person, exceeding the Number of fifty Persons (other than and except as aforesaid,) which shall be holden without such previous Notice as aforesaid, for the Purpose or on the Pretext of considering of or preparing any Petition, Complaint, Remonstrance, Declaration, or other Address to the King, or both Houses, or either House of Parliament, for Alteration of Matters established in Church or State, or for the Purpose or on the Pretext of deliberating on any Grievance in Church

in Banning them, securing us?
Life in a religious subculture after the Agreement

maintain boundaries (Hayes and McAllister, 1999 ; McGarry and O’Leary, 1995). In addition, it was thought that fear and insecurity made people more likely to retreat to the comfort of religion (Bruce, 1994 ). So is this why, when compared with other parts of Western Europe, Northern Ireland was thought to record higher levels of church attendance and traditional Christian beliefs (Mitchell, 2004

in Everyday life after the Irish conflict