Bookshelf Spotlight: Indonesia, Sukarno, & Suharto

Featured Books

* End of Sukarno:A Coup That Misfired: A Purge That Ran Wild
* In the Time of Madness: Indonesia on the Edge of Chaos
* Pretext for Mass Murder: The September 30th Movement and Suharto’s Coup d’Etat in Indonesia
* Sukarno: A Political Biography
* Sukarno: An Autobiography

End of Sukarno:A Coup That Misfired: A Purge That Ran Wild


by John Hughes
Archipelago Press, 1967

This book, with a new introduction by the author, is the story of the dramatic events that brought about the downfall of Indonesia’s then national hero–Sukarno. In the early morning of I October 1965, six high-ranking generals of the Indonesian army were murdered under grisly circumstances. This act was to set in motion a chain of events that broke the Indonesian Communist Party amidst the slaughter of hundreds of thousands and ultimately led to Sukarno’s eclipse. John Hughes was the first American correspondent into Jakarta after the murders, and one of the few Western correspondents to be an eyewitness to the drama that unfolded in the ensuing months. For his dispatches, Hughes was awarded the Pulitzer Prize. This book has become a classic historical record of those times.

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In the Time of Madness: Indonesia on the Edge of Chaos


by Richard Lloyd Parry
Grove/Atlantic, Inc., 2005

In the last years of the twentieth century, foreign correspondent Richard Lloyd Parry found himself in the vast island nation of Indonesia, one of the most alluring, mysterious, and violent countries in the world. For thirty-two years, it had been paralyzed by the grip of the dictator and mystic General Suharto, but now the age of Suharto was coming to an end. Would freedom prevail, or was the “time of madness” predicted centuries before now at hand?

On the island of Borneo, tribesmen embarked on a savage war of headhunting and cannibalism. Vast jungles burned uncontrollably; money lost its value; there were plane crashes and volcanic eruptions. After the tumultuous fall of Suharto came the vote on independence from Indonesia for the tiny occupied country of East Timor. And it was here, trapped in the besieged compound of the United Nations, that Lloyd Parry reached his own breaking point.

A book of hair-raising immediacy and a riveting account of a voyage into the abyss, In the Time of Madness is an accomplishment in the great tradition of Conrad, Orwell, and Ryszard Kapuscinski.

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Pretext for Mass Murder: The September 30th Movement and Suharto’s Coup d’Etat in Indonesia


by John Roosa
University of Wisconsin Press, 2006

In the early morning hours of October 1, 1965, a group calling itself the September 30th Movement kidnapped and executed six generals of the Indonesian army, including its highest commander. The group claimed that it was attempting to preempt a coup, but it was quickly defeated as the senior surviving general, Haji Mohammad Suharto, drove the movement’s partisans out of Jakarta. Riding the crest of mass violence, Suharto blamed the Communist Party of Indonesia for masterminding the movement and used the emergency as a pretext for gradually eroding President Sukarno’s powers and installing himself as a ruler. Imprisoning and killing hundreds of thousands of alleged communists over the next year, Suharto remade the events of October 1, 1965 into the central event of modern Indonesian history and the cornerstone of his thirty-two-year dictatorship.

Despite its importance as a trigger for one of the twentieth century’s worst cases of mass violence, the September 30th Movement has remained shrouded in uncertainty. Who actually masterminded it? What did they hope to achieve? Why did they fail so miserably? And what was the movement’s connection to international Cold War politics? In “Pretext for Mass Murder,” John Roosa draws on a wealth of new primary source material to suggest a solution to the mystery behind the movement and the enabling myth of Suharto’s repressive regime. His book is a remarkable feat of historical investigation.

Finalist, Social Sciences Book Award, the International Convention of Asian Scholars

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Sukarno: A Political Biography


by John D. Legge
Editions Didier Millet, 1972

Sukarno was one of the more spectacular of the anti-colonial leaders who struggled against European imperialism in Asia and Africa in the first half of the 20th century. With Indonesia’s independence he was the unquestioned choice for the position of president. Nevertheless he was in many ways, a controversial president. Discredited in the mid 1960s, he was edged gradually from office and largely forgotten after his death. With the accession of his daughter. Megawati Sukamoputri, to the presidency in 2001, interest in Sukarno has revived and it is appropriate to look again at his career and his political legacy. Has the passage of time and the events of the past 35 years affected the way in which he is perceived? This new edition of Legge’s biography seeks to address that question.

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Sukarno: An Autobiography (as told to Cindy Adams)


by Sukarno
Bobbs-Merrill, 1965

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