at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

Bookshelf Spotlight: Southeast Asia & Revolution


Featured University Of Hawai’i Press Publishing

* To Nation by Revolution: Indonesia in the 20th Century

To Nation by Revolution: Indonesia in the 20th Century


by Anthony Reid
University Of Hawai’i Press, 2011

The twelve chapters of this book all derive from the reflections of a prominent historian on the nature of modern Indonesian history over a forty-year time span. A central thread running through the book is the importance of the fact that Indonesia entered the modern community of nation-states through political revolution.

University Of Hawai’i Press | Goodreads | Amazon | Google Books

Featured Books

* Forgotten Wars: Freedom and Revolution in Southeast Asia
* Ordering Power: Contentious Politics and Authoritarian Leviathans in Southeast Asia
* Revolution Interrupted: Farmers, Students, Law, and Violence in Northern Thailand
* Vietnam 1946: How the War Began
* Passion, Betrayal, and Revolution in Colonial Saigon: The Memoirs of Bao Luong

Forgotten Wars: Freedom and Revolution in Southeast Asia


by Christopher Bayly & Tim Harper
Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2007

In September 1945, after the fall of the atomic bomb—and with it, the Japanese empire—Asia was dominated by the British. Governing a vast crescent of land that stretched from India through Burma and down to Singapore, and with troops occupying the French and Dutch colonies in southern Vietnam and Indonesia, Britain’s imperial might had never seemed stronger.

Yet within a few violent years, British power in the region would crumble, and myriad independent nations would struggle into existence. Christopher Bayly and Tim Harper show how World War II never really ended in these ravaged Asian lands but instead continued in bloody civil wars, anti-colonial insurrections, and inter-communal massacres. These years became the most formative in modern Asian history, as Western imperialism vied with nascent nationalist and communist revolutionaries for political control.

Forgotten Wars, a sequel to the authors’ acclaimed Forgotten Armies, is a panoramic account of the bitter wars of the end of empire, seen not only through the eyes of the fighters, but also through the personal stories of ordinary people: the poor and bewildered caught up in India’s Hindu-Muslim massacres; the peasant farmers ravaged by warfare between British forces and revolutionaries in Malaya; the Burmese minorities devastated by separatist revolt. Throughout, we are given a stunning portrait of societies poised between the hope of independence and the fear of strife. Forgotten Wars vividly brings to life the inescapable conflicts and manifold dramas that shaped today’s Asia.

Belknap Press of Harvard University Press | Amazon | Google Books

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Ordering Power: Contentious Politics and Authoritarian Leviathans in Southeast Asia


by Dan Slater
Cambridge University Press, 2010

This is the first collection of short stories by Filipino author Gilda Cordero-Fernando. Dowdy and glamor-starved housewives, the money-mad circle that barely senses the need for social justice, children anxious for love and security–these prvide the material for the fable and vision which fiction demands of its makers.

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Revolution Interrupted: Farmers, Students, Law, and Violence in Northern Thailand


by Tyrell Haberkorn & Thongchai Winichakul
University of Wisconsin Press, 2011

In October 1973 a mass movement forced Thailand’s prime minister to step down and leave the country, ending nearly forty years of dictatorship. Three years later, in a brutal reassertion of authoritarian rule, Thai state and para-state forces quashed a demonstration at Thammasat University in Bangkok. In Revolution Interrupted, Tyrell Haberkorn focuses on this period when political activism briefly opened up the possibility for meaningful social change. Tenant farmers and their student allies fomented revolution, she shows, not by picking up guns but by invoking laws— laws that the Thai state ultimately proved unwilling to enforce.

In choosing the law as their tool to fight unjust tenancy practices, farmers and students departed from the tactics of their ancestors and from the insurgent methods of the Communist Party of Thailand. To first imagine and then create a more just future, they drew on their own lived experience and the writings of Thai Marxian radicals of an earlier generation, as well as New Left, socialist, and other progressive thinkers from around the world. Yet their efforts were quickly met with harassment, intimidation, and assassinations of farmer leaders. More than thirty years later, the assassins remain unnamed.

Drawing on hundreds of newspaper articles, cremation volumes, activist and state documents, and oral histories, Haberkorn reveals the ways in which the established order was undone and then reconsolidated. Examining this turbulent period through a new optic—interrupted revolution—she shows how the still unnameable violence continues to constrict political opportunity and to silence dissent in present-day Thailand.

University of Wisconsin Press | Goodreads | Amazon | Google Books

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Vietnam 1946: How the War Began


by Stein Tonnesson
University Of California Press, 2011

Based on multiarchival research conducted over almost three decades, this landmark account tells how a few men set off a war that would lead to tragedy for millions. Stein Tønnesson was one of the first historians to delve into scores of secret French, British, and American political, military, and intelligence documents. In this fascinating account of an unfolding tragedy, he brings this research to bear to disentangle the complex web of events, actions, and mentalities that led to thirty years of war in Indochina. As the story unfolds, Tønnesson challenges some widespread misconceptions, arguing that French general Leclerc fell into a Chinese trap in March 1946, and Vietnamese general Giap into a French trap in December. Taking us from the antechambers of policymakers in Paris to the docksides of Haiphong and the streets of Hanoi, Vietnam 1946 provides the most vivid account to date of the series of events that would make Vietnam the most embattled area in the world during the Cold War period.

University Of California Press | Goodreads | Amazon | Google Books

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Passion, Betrayal, and Revolution in Colonial Saigon: The Memoirs of Bao Luong


by Hue-Tam Ho Tai
University of California Press, 2010

This is the incredible story of Bao Luong, Vietnam’s first female political prisoner. In 1927, when she was just 18, Bao Luong left her village home to join Ho Chi Minh’s Revolutionary Youth League and fight both for national independence and for women’s equality. A year later, she became embroiled in the Barbier Street murder, a crime in which unruly passion was mixed with revolutionary ardor. Weaving together Bao Luong’s own memoir with excerpts from newspaper articles, family gossip, and official documents, this book by Bao Luong’s niece takes us from rural life in the Mekong Delta to the bustle of colonial Saigon. It provides a rare snapshot of Vietnam in the first decades of the twentieth century and a compelling account of one woman’s struggle to make a place for herself in a world fraught with intense political intrigue.

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