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The Killing Season


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Table of Contents

Preface ix Note on Spelling and Translation xv Abbreviations and Foreign Terms xvii 1 Introduction 3 2 Preconditions 27 3 Pretext 54 4 Cold War 82 5 Mass Killing 118 6 The Army's Role 148 7 "A Gleam of Light in Asia" 177 8 Mass Incarceration 208 9 Release, Restrict, Discipline, and Punish 237 10 Truth and Justice? 264 11 Violence, Legacies, Silence 292 Notes 315 Bibliography 391 Index 413

About the Author

Geoffrey B. Robinson is professor of history at the University of California, Los Angeles. His books include The Dark Side of Paradise: Political Violence in Bali and "If You Leave Us Here, We Will Die": How Genocide Was Stopped in East Timor (Princeton). Before coming to UCLA, he worked for six years at Amnesty International's Research Department in London. Robinson lives in Los Angeles with his wife and daughter.


"Robinson's work is a valuable contribution to the ongoing debate on the 1965 events that draws on a rich body of primary and secondary sources. The book is an easy read when it comes to language and an enlightening read when it comes to the details of army operation and strategies. It is a must-read for Indonesianists, and many part of the book might also draw the attention of people dedicated to genocide and military studies in general."---Timo Duile, Austrian Journal of Southeast Asian Studies
"One of Foreign Affairs' Picks for Best of Books 2018"
"In this masterful account . . . the killings receive the comprehensive, scholarly treatment they have long needed."---Tony Barber, Financial Times
"This meticulous scholarly analysis of the country's institutions comprehensively investigates the economic, religious, ethnic, and socioeconomic factors behind the arrests, rape, torture, and murder that were inflicted on communist true believers and innocents alike. Robinson's authoritative scholarly work is an indispensable resource for specialists seeking a comprehensive overview of this little-studied period in Southeast Asian history." * Publisher's Weekly *
"Robinson's masterly account of the terrible slaughters that took place in Indonesia offers important reflections on the nature of mass violence."---Christopher Hale, History Today
"This is an important and extensively researched account about the activities and consequences of state terrorism, using the Indonesian experience as its case study."---Joshua Sinai, Perspectives on Terrorism
"Robinson's The Killing Season is a vital work in documenting one of the worst mass killings of the 20th century - and exposing the complicity of Western governments." * Green Left Weekly *
"An authoritative and harrowing account of the massacres in Indonesia and their aftermath. . . . Robinson spares no one, but his indictment is nuanced and rises above Cold War passions. . . . The findings of Robinson's painstaking scholarship may shock those accustomed to triumphal readings of the Cold War, but Robinson provides a more accurate, if less inspirational, perspective on U.S. policy."---Gary Bass, Foreign Affairs
"A useful contribution to regional history and a much-needed voice in the 'path of silence' that followed a murderous time." * Kirkus *
"An encyclopedic exploration into this event, why it happened, who supported it, and what its impact on the nation has been. . . . The Killing Season is a very powerful book. I strongly recommend it."---Erik Loomis, Lawyers, Guns & Money
"Crucial. . . . The Killing Season is clearly and elegantly written, the prose often driven by a controlled anger."---Alex de Jong, Jacobin
"Remarkable."---Ken Silverstein, New Republic
"Robinson, an expert on human rights, concludes with a thought provoking analysis of why mass killings and illegal detentions take place, and considers the long-term consequences of the events of 1965-1966 for Indonesian society. He has written a clear and well documented book which is essential reading for anyone interested in modern Indonesian history."---Roger Hamilton, Asian Affairs
"This book is recommended for those trying to understand the causes, both domestic and international, behind the massacres of 1965-66. It is also an insight into Indonesia's continuing struggle to come to terms with this painful episode in its history."---Frank Beyer, Inside Indonesia
"Longlisted for the 2019 ICAS Book Prize in Humanities, International Convention of Asia Scholars"
"The facts and horrors of [the Indonesian massacres of 1965-66] are the subject of Geoffrey B. Robinson's essential volume, The Killing Season. In careful detail, Robinson lays out the background for the slaughter and its execution, laying blame squarely on those Indonesians and Western powers responsible for what he calls a crime against humanity-the aftereffects of which are still apparent today."---Mitchell Abidor, Jewish Currents
"An authoritative and harrowing account of the massacres in Indonesia and their aftermath."---Gary J. Bass, Foreign Affairs
"Winner of the Raphael Lemkin Book Award, Institute for the Study of Genocide"
"I see The Killing Season as a must-read for anyone interested in Indonesia and broadly defined human rights issues of Southeast Asia for its unparalleled comprehensiveness, solid archival research, and elegant writing style."---Kankan Xie, New Books Asia
"[Robinson's] book skilfully combines a human rights advocate's anger with academic rigour."---Julia Lovell, The Guardian
"Robinson's work is painstakingly careful and deserves as wide a readership as possible. . . . The real importance of this book is that it exposes in meticulous detail a modern genocide from the inside out. Governments and politicians could learn from this to prevent genocides before they even happen."---Richard Cockett, Literary Review
"Winner of the Distinguished Book Award in Non-U.S. History, Society for Military History"
"Geoffrey Robinson emphasizes that one of his main objectives in writing this book was to 'disturb the troubling silence.' I have waited many years for such a book to appear, one which I hoped would help to pierce the West's historical amnesia. Robinson has written an extraordinary work that does full justice to this neglected topic. Deeply researched and packed with fascinating and revelatory information, The Killing Season is considered, scholarly, well-argued, and absolutely gripping reading. As soon as I finished reading this book, I wanted to dive right back into it again."---Gregory Elich, CounterPunch
"Robinson [displays his] ability to combine, with chilling calm, a broad theoretical analysis and comparative analysis with a detailed understanding of events."---Adrian Vickers, Times Literary Supplement
"One of the Financial Times' Best Books of 2018: History"

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