History Book Captivates with Unique Christian Perspective

VALLEY FORGE, PA (1/20/23)—For centuries, religious differences have fueled open warfare between the Karen People and the Burmese majority. Angelene Naw tells their captivating story from a Christian Karen perspective in The History of the Karen People of Burma, new from Judson Press.

In Burma—today, officially known as Myanmar—it is illegal to study ethnic minorities; but Naw has not only studied the Karen People, she has lived the experience. Born during the time of the Karen nationalist movements, she spent the first six years of her life hiding in the jungles of Burma, where her father was an officer with the Karen insurgents. She finished two degrees at the University of Rangoon before completing her PhD at the University of Hawaii. Though a minority Karen, she had a career with the Burmese government before coming to the United States to teach Asian history at Judson University in Elgin, Illinois.

In The History of the Karen People of Burma, Naw begins with the history of Christian missionary work that predates Adoniram Judson, then recounts the contributions of American Baptist missionaries who helped the Karen codify a written language, opening educational opportunities for a culture eager to learn. Naw also includes chapters on:

  • The impact of British rule on Christian Karens and Buddhist Burmans
  • Karen challenges during World War II
  • The Karen political journey of the 1940s
  • Decades of armed struggle

She concludes with a look at Christianity and the Karen identity today.

Editor Jerry Cain describes The History of the Karen People of Burma as “an exhilarating yet sad story of the best and worst of humanity lived out on the left side of the map of Southeast Asia.”

Rosalie Hall Hunt, author of Bless God and Take Courage: The Judson History and Legacy and The Extraordinary Story of Ann Hasseltine Judson: A Life Beyond Boundaries, writes, “Dr. Angeline Naw beautifully blends history with the stories of courageous Karen heroes, along with mission pioneers who invested their lives in bringing the good news to a brave and tenacious people.”

Reid S. Trulson, retired Executive Director/CEO of International Ministries, American Baptist Churches USA, says, “Naw carefully documents the forging of Karen nationhood through centuries of oppression, culture building, hard-fought literacy, broken promises, and transformed faith.”

The History of the Karen People of Burma is available at JudsonPress.com and through other book retailers.

Founded in 1824, Judson Press a publishing ministry of American Baptist Home Mission Societies, produces Christ-centered spiritual and leadership resources for the transformation of individuals, congregations, and communities.

 American Baptist Home Mission Societies partners with American Baptists to promote Christian faith, cultivate Christ-centered leaders and disciples, and bring healing and transformation to communities across the United States and Puerto Rico.

 American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with approximately 5,000 congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.