Young Soeharto: The Making of a Soldier, 1921-1945

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About the Publication

When a reluctant President Sukarno gave Lt Gen Soeharto full executive authority in March 1966, Indonesia was a deeply divided nation, fractured along ideological, class, religious and ethnic lines. Soeharto took a country in chaos, the largest in Southeast Asia, and transformed it into one of the “Asian miracle” economies—only to leave it back on the brink of ruin when he was forced from office thirty-two years later. 

Drawing on his astonishing range of interviews with leading Indonesian generals, former Imperial Japanese Army officers and men who served in the Dutch colonial army, as well as years of patient research in Dutch, Japanese, British, Indonesian and US archives, David Jenkins brings vividly to life the story of how a socially reticent but exceptionally determined young man from rural Java began his rise to power—an ascent which would be capped by thirty years (1968–98) as President of Indonesia, the fourth most populous nation on earth. Soeharto was one of Asia’s most brutal, most durable, most avaricious and most successful dictators. In the course of examining those aspects of his character, this book provides an accessible, highly readable introduction to the complex, but dramatic and utterly absorbing, social, political, religious, economic and military factors that have shaped, and which continue to shape, Indonesia.

“Jenkins has succeeded, in a manner like none before him, to convey the feel, spirit, energy and texture of these formative years of Indonesia’s making, marked by violence, triumph and calamitous failure, and brutal intrigue. Jenkins’s Soeharto reveals the man… and his long, mostly quiet emergence, in brilliant contextual detail, and shows how he developed his extraordinary capacity for political adroitness and concise, decisive leadership.”
– Emeritus Professor R.E. Elson, author of Suharto: A Political Biography (Cambridge University Press, 2001)

“David Jenkins [is] the leading historian of the Indonesian military.”
—The late Professor Benedict Anderson, author of Java in a Time of Revolution: Occupation and Resistance, 1944-1946 
(Cornell University Press, 1972)

“An extremely valuable contribution to the literature on Indonesian political history... Using Soeharto’s life as a connecting thread, David Jenkins weaves together a marvelous and colourful study of Indonesia political and military life …. fascinating.”
—Dr Peter McCawley, author of Banking on the Future of Asia and the Pacific: 50 Years of the Asian Development Bank 
(Asian Development Bank, 2017)


PDF e-book files for this publication are available as detailed below.

Young Soeharto: The Making of a Soldier, 1921-1945 [Whole Publication, ISBN: 978-981-4881-01-2], by David Jenkins , author 45.00 USD
Preliminary pages Download
1. “The Sultan came to me and asked about that family tree” 5.00 USD
2. “The cork on which the Netherlands floats” 5.00 USD
3. “They regard Holland as a very weak power” 5.00 USD
4. “An invisible motivating force” 5.00 USD
5. “What kind of Islam is this?” 5.00 USD
6. “Soeharto is a closed book” 5.00 USD
7. “I was suited to the disciplined life of the military” 5.00 USD
8. A reassuringly familiar world 5.00 USD
9. A policeman for the Japanese 5.00 USD
10. An armed force conjured out of nothing 5.00 USD
11. “The whole island was ablaze with enthusiasm” 5.00 USD
12. “Don’t make them too strong!” 5.00 USD
13. “Soeharto was a cautious man” 5.00 USD
14. “Why did they choose Soeharto?” 5.00 USD
Glossary and Abbreviations Download
Notes Download
Acknowledgements Download
Bibliography Download
Index Download
About the Author Download
Dutch photo section Download
Japanese photo section Download

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