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Shvoong Home>Books>Indonesia: Peoples and Histories Review

Indonesia: Peoples and Histories

Book Review   by:hadisetyono     Original Author: Jean Gelman Taylor
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This book is highly recommended for anyone interested in Indonesia. It is not a standard sort of history, but its value lies in how the author brilliantly weaves together strands of Indonesia's prehistory, colonial history, and history as an independent nation--it reminds one of Churchill's maxim about the Balkans, that the region has to be a net exporter of history because it produces too much for local consumption. This book also demonstrates why the Australians are absolutely first-rate in Indonesian studies (look at a map--they have to be). Another huge plus are the extremely valuable capsule histories scattered throughout--little gems that capture small topics deftly. My only criticism is about the author's writing style: hardly "voluptuous" as one reviewer put it (what does voluptuous writing look like?)--but in fact it's fairly inelegant; the list approach to making your points. This book is highly recommended for anyone interested in Indonesia. It is not a standard sort of history, but its value lies in how the author brilliantly weaves together strands of Indonesia's prehistory, colonial history, and history as an independent nation--it reminds one of Churchill's maxim about the Balkans, that the region has to be a net exporter of history because it produces too much for local consumption. This book also demonstrates why the Australians are absolutely first-rate in Indonesian studies (look at a map--they have to be). Another huge plus are the extremely valuable capsule histories scattered throughout--little gems that capture small topics deftly. My only criticism is about the author's writing style: hardly "voluptuous" as one reviewer put it (what does voluptuous writing look like?)--but in fact it's fairly inelegant; the list approach to making your points.
Published: April 21, 2009   
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