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Asian History

Asian History Book List

Cover of 'Good-Bye to Old Peking'

Good-Bye to Old Peking
The Wartime Letters of U.S. Marine Captain John Seymour Letcher, 1937–1939
Edited by Katie Letcher Lyle and Roger B. Jeans

For two and a half years (1937-1939), Captain John Seymour Letcher commanded a company of the U.S. Embassy Marine Guard in Peking. During that time, he wrote a series of letters to his parents in Virginia describing the life of a Westerner in the former imperial city. During that same time, China was invaded by Japan.

Cover of 'Eight Prison Camps'

Eight Prison Camps
A Dutch Family in Japanese Java
By Dieuwke Wendelaar Bonga

Eldest daughter of eight children, the author grew up in Surakarta, Java, in what is now Indonesia. In the months following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, however, Dutch nationals were rounded up by Japanese soldiers and put in internment camps. Her father and brother were sent to separate men’s camps, leaving the author, her mother, and the five younger children in the women’s camp.

Cover of 'The  Realm of Prester John'

The Realm of Prester John
By Robert Silverberg

Robert Silverberg, whose work is well known to science fiction fans, originally published The Realm of Prester John in 1972. The first modern account of the genesis of a great medieval myth—which was perpetuated for centuries by European Christians who looked to Asia and Africa for a strong ruler out of the east—Silverberg's romantic and fabulous tale is now available in paperback for the first time.

Cover of 'Violence and the Dream People'

Violence and the Dream People
The Orang Asli in the Malayan Emergency, 1948-1960
By John D. Leary

Violence and the Dream People is an account of a little-known struggle by the Malayan government and the communist guerrillas, during the 1948-1960 Malayan Emergency, to win the allegiance of the Orang Asli, the indigenous people of the peninsular Malaya.

Cover of 'Jan Compagnie in the Straits of Malacca, 1641–1795'

Jan Compagnie in the Straits of Malacca, 1641–1795
By Dianne Lewis

In 1500 Malay Malacca was the queen city of the Malay Archipelago, one of the great trade centers of the world. Its rulers, said to be descendents of the ancient line of Srivijaya, dominated the lands east and west of the straits. The Portuguese, unable to compete in the marketplace, captured the town.

Cover of 'From Jail to Jail'

From Jail to Jail
By Tan Malaka
· Translation by Helen Jarvis
· Introduction by Helen Jarvis

From Jail to Jail is the political autobiography of a central though enigmatic figure of the Indonesian Revolution. Variously labeled a communist, Trotskyite, and nationalist, Tan Malaka managed, during the several decades of his political activity, to run afoul of nearly every political group and faction involved in the Indonesian struggle for independence.

Cover of 'Communism, Religion, and Revolt in Banten in the Early Twentieth Century'

Communism, Religion, and Revolt in Banten in the Early Twentieth Century
By Michael Williams

Twice in this century popular revolts against colonial rule have occured in the Banten district of West Java. These revolts, conducted largely under an Islamic leadership, also proclaimed themselves Communist. Islamic Communism is seemingly a paradox. This is especially the case when one considers that probably no religion has proved more resistant to Communist ideology than Islam.

Cover of 'Vietnam Since the Fall of Saigon'

Vietnam Since the Fall of Saigon
By William J. Duiker

When North Vietnamese troops occupied Saigon at the end of April 1975, their leaders in Hanoi faced the future with pride and confidence. Almost fifteen years later, the euphoria has given way to sober realism. Since the end of the war, the Communist regime has faced an almost uninterrupted series of difficulties including sluggish economic growth at home and a costly occupation of neighboring Cambodia.

Cover of 'Military Ascendancy and Political Culture'

Military Ascendancy and Political Culture
A Study of Indonesia's Golkar
By Leo Suryadinata

Most of the earlier studies on the Indonesian political party, Golkar, tend to view the organization solely as an electoral machine used by the military to legitimize its power. However, this study is different in that it considers Golkar less an electoral machine and more as a political organization which inherited the political traditions of the nominal Muslim parties and the Javanese governing elite pre-1965, before the inauguration of Indonesia’s New Order.

Cover of 'From Kampung to City'

From Kampung to City
A Social History of Kucing Malaysia, 1820-1970
By Craig Lockard

One of the major processes in modern Southeast Asian history has been the development of ethnically heterogeneous towns and cities. Kucing, an intermediate-sized urban center in Sarawak, Malaysia, is today an institutionally complex, predominantly Chinese city of 100,000 led by modern political leaders. Lockard’s account of the development and growth of Kucing over 150 years devotes particular attention to the remarkable absence of ethnic conflict in the mixed society of Kucing.

Cover of 'Report on Brunei in 1904'

Report on Brunei in 1904
By M. S. H. McArthur

In 1904 the British Protectorate of Brunei had reached the nadir of its fortunes. Reduced to two small strips of territory, bankrupt, and threatened with takeover by the Rajah of Sarawak (Sir Charles Brooke), Brunei received M. S. H. McArthur who was dispatched to make recommendations for Brunei's future administration.

Cover of 'Lê Code'

Lê Code
Law in Traditional Vietnam
By Ngọc Huy Nguyễn, Tài Văn Ta, and Binh Tu Tran

The Lê Code: Law in Traditional Vietnam is the first English translation of the penal code produced by Vietnam’s Lê Dynasty (1428-1788). The code itself was the culmination of a long process of political, social and legal development that extended into the period of the succeeding Nguyen Dynasty and, in many respects, into the twentieth century. As is the case with cultures of other countries in East Asia, Vietnam has been widely influenced by China.

Cover of 'The  Japanese Experience in Indonesia'

The Japanese Experience in Indonesia
Selected Memoirs of 1942-1945
By Anthony Reid
· Edited by Oki Akira

Although the wartime Japanese military administration of Indonesia was critical to the making of modern Indonesia, it remains shrouded in mystery, in part because of the systematic destruction of records following the Japanese surrender.

Cover of 'The Red Earth'

The Red Earth
A Vietnamese Memoir of Life on a Colonial Rubber Plantation
By Binh Tu Tran
· Edited by David G. Marr
· Translation by John Spragens

Phu Rieng was one of many French rubber plantations in colonial Vietnam; Tran Tu Binh was one of 17,606 laborers brought to work there in 1927, and his memoir is a straightforward, emotionally searing account of how one Vietnamese youth became involved in revolutionary politics. The connection between this early experience and later activities of the author becomes clear as we learn that Tran Tu Binh survived imprisonment on Con Son island to help engineer the general uprising in Hanoi in 1945.

Cover of 'History of the Malay Kingdom of Patani'

History of the Malay Kingdom of Patani
By Ibrahim Syukri

This translation of Ibrahim Syukri’s Sejarah Kerajaan Melayu Patani (SKMP) makes available a little known but important manuscript published privately ca. 1950 and printed in jawi (Malay written in a modified Arabic script). Shortly after its publication, the book was banned in both Thailand and Malaysia. It appears that a few copies of the original printing survived.