New Books Network

Thomas Borchert, “Educating Monks: Minority Buddhism on China’s Southwest Border” (U Hawaii Press, 2017)
What makes a Buddhist monk? This is the motivating question for Thomas Borchert, Professor of Religion at the University of Vermont, as he explores the social and educational formation of Buddhists from Southwest China. Borchert introduces his readers to the Dai ethnic minority community through vivid accounts of their local... Read More
Peter Zinoman, “Vietnamese Colonial Republican: The Political Vision of Vu Trong Phung” (U California Press, 2013)
Over the course of the 1930s, Vietnamese author Vũ Trọng Phụng published eight novels, hundreds of works of narrative nonfiction, stories, plays, essays and articles. He was a best-selling writer in his own day who sharpened his acute literary talents, Peter Zinoman observes in the opening pages of Vietnamese Colonial Republican:... Read More
Max Hastings, “Vietnam: An Epic Tragedy, 1945-1975” (Harper, 2018)
People of various political stripes in many countries (particularly those countries where various political stripes are allowed) have been arguing about the Vietnam War for a long time. The participants in these debates were (and are) always quick to assign blame in what seems to be an endless attempt to... Read More
Vennessa Hearman, “Unmarked Graves: Death and Survival in the Anti-Communist Violence in East Java, Indonesia” (NUS Press, 2018)
This interview is the fourth and and final interview in a short series of podcasts about the mass violence in Indonesia.  Earlier this year I talked with Geoff Robinson, Jess Melvin and Kate McGregor and Annie Pohlman about their works. All of them have written thoughtful, carefully researched and richly... Read More
Martin Saxer and Juan Zhang, eds., “The Art of Neighbouring: Making Relations Across China’s Borders” (Amsterdam UP, 2017)
China’s growing presence in all of our worlds today is felt most keenly by those living directly on the country’s borders. They, together with the Chinese people who also inhabit the borderlands, are parties to a dazzling array of of China-driven transformations unfolding on a vast scale in economics, politics,... Read More
Chris Baker and Pasuk Phongpaichit, “A History of Ayutthaya: Siam in the Early Modern World” (Cambridge UP, 2017)
The dramatic fall and destruction of Ayutthaya at the hands of the Burmese in 1767 has been the subject of films, television shows, songs and books for popular audiences and classrooms, many of them aimed at stoking nationalist sentiment among the citizens of contemporary Thailand and Myanmar by invoking a... Read More
Jess Melvin, “The Army and the Indonesian Genocide: Mechanics of Mass Murder” (Routledge, 2018)
It’s not often that you run across a smoking gun. Jess Melvin did, at an archive in Banda Aceh. Since the massacres in Indonesia in 1965-66, academics, journalists, politicians and military officials  have argued about the motivations for the killing.  With little documentation to draw from, these debates relied on careful... Read More