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Revolusi – Indonesië en het ontstaan van de moderne wereld
David Van Reybrouck

De Bezige Bij, Amsterdam 2020

The independence process on the road to revolusi. That is the period Van Reybrouck is concerned with, and of which the very last eyewitnesses are still alive. Van Reybrouck interviews a whole army of over-90s.

They bring history to life. No detail is too small, no quotation superfluous: ‘Witnesses who think they have nothing to tell are often the most interesting’, writes Van Reybrouck.


Van Reybrouck finds the most remarkable witnesses in the unlikeliest places and succeeds in getting people to talk, even about the greatest filth they have committed or suffered. He speaks to conscientious objector Piet van Staveren, as well as volunteer Goderd van Heek, Indonesian veterans, forced laborers, comfort women, very elderly Gurkhas, Japanese veterans and even Sukarno’s Japanese widow Dewi. He performs Brits, French, Japanese, Germans and Americans, for the revolusi was not only man-made, but was emphatically embedded in a larger, international event: there are more than two sides to this story.


© Beeld Nationaal Archief/Collectie SPAA