I'll be honest, I wasn't sure what to make of this book at first. It took a "unique" point of view towards prisons and concentration camps. However, the more I read, the more I saw that Mrazek actually had an ingenious point. One of his chapters highlights how concentration camps in Czechoslovakia and Indonesia actually inadvertently pooled many of those nations' best and brightest peoples, allowing them access to the best doctors and educators. I won't reveal too much more, except to say that this book really challenges you to think daringly about colonialism and power relationships.
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About the reviewer
Dominic J Nardi (FreeDom4)
I am a recent law school grad with an interest in Southeast Asia legal issues. Unfortunately for my checkbook, ever since high school I have been addicted to good books. I have eclectic tastes, although … more
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A striking and deeply engaging historical study. . . . In tracing this history, Rudolf Mrazek takes the reader on a journey, sometimes strange, through the jungles, laboratories, houses, trains, and latrines of late-colonial life. He also brings to life a cast of historical characters . . . who used everything from toilets to airplanes as tools for articulating and reflecting upon what it meant to be modern in the Indies. . . . Mraze develops his theoretical insights with a light hand through the telling of an original history that takes surprising and quirky turns. --Review
A thought-provoking study. . . . Recommended reading for anyone who studies this period of Indonesian history. --Tineke Hellwig,Pacific Affairs
Conveys the feel and flavor of modernity as it took root in the early twentieth-century Indonesia. --James R. Rush ,American Historical Review