Synopses & Reviews
In this second edition, all parts of the book have been revised and sections added wherever new research has required this, greater attention has been given to economic issues, and two new chapters have been written on the period since 1965. The bibliography has been brought completely up to date. Indonesia is the forth most populous nation of the earth and a major producer of oil and other resources. It is also the most populous nation of the Islamic world and at the same time heir to vigorous pre-Islamic traditions and complex cultural heritages of the many islands which make up the Republic. Its colourful history, from the coming of Islam c. 1300 to the present day, is described in this comprehensive work. The emphasis throughout the book is on the history of the Indonesian peoples themselves. An essential narrative of political history is provided as well as discussions of social, cultural and economic affairs. Chapter bibliographies are included to guide readers to the most recent scholarly works on the subject. Behind this structure, the book poses the important question of how the diverse but related linguistic and ethnic communities of the Indonesian archipelago became a unified nation. Attention is therefore given first to those influences which set the scene for the post-1300 era of Indonesian history: the spread of Islam; early European contact; the emergence of the new Indonesian states and the variety of indigenous cultural, literary and religious traditions. The turbulent seventeenth century and eighteenth centuries are then analysed in terms of the largely inconclusive struggles for hegemony among Indonesian states and the Dutch. The nineteenth century saw Dutch colonial rule gradually imposed throughout the archipelago, and the twentieth century opened with quite new issues which were by now common to most of the peoples of Indonesia. Islamic revivalism and anti-colonial movements further helped to draw Indonesia together, a process which culminated in the revolution and independence. Since then, Indonesia's unification has made many achievements possible, but has not prevented the emergence of persistence of serious problems. Without political or religious bias, using both western and Indonesian sources, this history assists the serious study of both the past and the present of this beautiful and important Southeast Asian nation.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 326-350) and index.