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Indonesian Destinies

Indonesian Destinies

Theodore Friend

ISBN 9780674018341

Publication date: 10/31/2005

"How can such a gentle people as we are be so murderous?" a prominent Indonesian asks. That question--and the mysteries of the archipelago's vast contradictions--haunt Theodore Friend's remarkable work, a narrative of Indonesia during the last half century, from the postwar revolution against Dutch imperialism to the unrest of today. Part history, part meditation on a place and a past observed firsthand, Indonesian Destinies penetrates events that gave birth to the world's fourth largest nation and assesses the continuing dangers that threaten to tear it apart.

Friend reveals Sukarno's character through wartime collaboration with Japan, and Suharto's through the mass murder of communists that brought him to power for thirty-two years. He guides our understanding of the tolerant forms of Islam prevailing among the largest Muslim population in the world, and shows growing tensions generated by international terrorism. Drawing on a deep knowledge of the country's cultures, its leaders, and its ordinary people, Friend gives a human face and a sense of immediacy to the self-inflicted failures and immeasurable tragedies that cast a shadow over Indonesia's past and future. A clear and compelling passion shines through this richly illustrated work. Rarely have narrative history and personal historical witness been so seamlessly joined.

Praise

  • A major work based on an incomparable first-person experience of a stunningly wide range of critical events and major personalities. Friend seems to have known everyone and been everywhere.

    —Clifford Geertz

Author

  • Theodore Friend, former President of Swarthmore College and President Emeritus of the Eisenhower Exchange Fellowships, is a Senior Fellow of the Foreign Policy Research Institute, Philadelphia. He was awarded the Bancroft Prize for his book on Philippine–American history, Between Two Empires. His other books include The Blue-Eyed Enemy and Family Laundry, a novel.

Book Details

  • 640 pages
  • 1-1/4 x 5-7/8 x 9-3/16 inches
  • Belknap Press

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