A History of Southeast Asia
Wiley Blackwell 2015
To write a comprehensive history of Southeast Asia is a task reserved for precious few scholars: historians of unrivaled skill and formidable knowledge. Anthony Reid is among them. His new book, A History of Southeast Asia: Critical Crossroads (Wiley Blackwell, 2015), is almost impossibly vast in scale and ambitious in scope, ranging across familiar territory while drawing out major new themes in the history of one of the world’s most diverse yet nevertheless coherent regions. Writing against the “seductive pressure” to view past political and cultural arrangements as analogues of our own, Reid draws on the resources of a life spent studying and writing Southeast Asian history to take the reader on a journey from the nagara polities and stateless majorities of a thousand years ago to the rise of high modernism in the places that today we know as Indonesia, Singapore and Vietnam. His strong engagement with major debates will appeal to specialists, yet the book is also highly accessible to students new to study of the region.
Tony Reid joins New Books in Southeast Asian Studies to discuss civilizations without cities, global war in the Indian Ocean, state evasion, the shared poverty of late colonial rule, and the role of women in the economies and societies of Southeast Asia from earliest times to the present day.