General Suharto is synonymous with modern Indonesia. He became President amidst extreme social upheaval and mass violence in 1966 and retained his position until 1998. In this book R.E. Elson provides insights into a man who exerted extraordinary power and influence, presented himself as an infallible father of the nation, yet remained mysterious. Suharto sought to transform Indonesia into a strong, united and economically prosperous nation-state, yet after half a century of influence, he is remembered as much for extensive human rights abuse and unprecedented corruption. As Indonesia emerges from the political numbness that characterized his era, its future seems precarious. R.E. Elson is Professor, School of Asian and International Studies at Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia and Director of Griffith Asia Pacific Council. He is the author of The End of Peasantry in Southeast Asia (Palgrave, 1997) and The Politics of Colonial Expansion (Southeast Asia Program Publications, 1992).
'Elson's Suharto, then, is indispensable reading for anyone committed to knowing and understanding more about Australia's most significant neighbour.' Chris Sidoti, Law Society Journal 'Elson's text is rich in description and I have seen few other accounts in English that deal with Suharto's early life in such detail ... this piece of scholarship provides much needed research enquiries into Indonesian politics and a wider field.' International Affairs 'Suharto: A Political Biography by R. E. Elson is the first scholarly life of a leader who ... has always been portrayed internationally as something of an enigma ... Elson has scoured a range of new sources in his search for Suharto, from Dutch colonial archives to interviews with palace insiders, and his work is richly detailed.' Times Literary Supplement 'Elson has written an important and comprehensive biography.' Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences of Southeast Asia and Oceania '... a timely and useful book ...' The Journal of Energy Literature