Max Lane’s Unfinished Nation: Indonesia Before and After Suharto is reviewed by Ed Walsh, for the Irish Left Review.
Suharto didn’t fall out with his western sponsors, so it never became convenient to highlight atrocities committed with the active support and participation of Washington and London. For those who insist on taking a benign view of US-UK power, in spite of all evidence to the contrary, Indonesia is a tough morsel to swallow. And those of similar disposition who present revolution against capitalism as the source of all the great evils of modern history will be reluctant to admit that a counter-revolution in defence of capitalism can produce its own horrors. If your own way of thinking doesn’t bend so crassly with the breeze, you’ll find Unfinished Nation to be an excellent primer on modern Indonesian history, with some useful hints as to its likely future. …
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Max Lane was a Lecturer in Asian Studies at the University of Sydney until 2008 and will soon be based in the Department of Malay Studies, National University of Singapore. In addition to numerous academic publications, he has actively supported political change in Indonesia since the mid-1970s, and has translated work by the acclaimed Indonesian novelist Pramoedya Ananta Toer, including the famed Buru Quartet.