Ben BlandDec 21, 2020
Man of Contradictions
Joko Widodo and the Struggle to Remake Indonesia
Joko Widodo, or “Jokowi”, as he is popularly known, famously rose from a riverside shack to become president of Indonesia in 2014. In a country better known for decades of authoritarian rule, Jokowi’s story has captured the imagination of observers of Indonesia hopeful for the country’s full transition to democracy. Ben Bland’s Man of Contradiction: Joko Widodo and the Struggle to Remake Indonesia (Penguin, 2021) is the first political biography of Indonesia’s president in the English language. His book goes behind this remarkable story to try to understand who Jokowi really is. He argues that the contradictions apparent in Jokowi the politician, reflect the deep contradictions of the Indonesia nation. Jokowi represents both the potential of Indonesia, as well as its limitations.
Patrick Jory teaches Southeast Asian History in the School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry at the University of Queensland. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.