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A Short History of Bali

Retired U.S. Diplomat Publishes A Rare Review of Bali's Interesting History.

(3/22/2004) The Honorable Robert Pringle is a retired U.S. Foreign Service Officer who has served in Jakarta, the Philippines, Burkina Faso, Papua New Guinea, South Africa and Mali (as Ambassador). He holds a doctorate in Southeast Asian history from Cornell University and has written several books on Southeast Asia.

His latest volume is A Short History of Bali Indonesia's Hindu Realm (Allen & Unwin, Australia, ISBN 1865088633, paperback 233 pp).

A Short History of Bali covers the history of Bali dating from the Bronze Age to the presidency of Megawati Sukarnoputri and the tragedy of the Kuta bombings on October 12, 2002. It looks at the arrival of Indian culture, early European contact, the role of anthropologists and taste-makers of the 1930s in romanticizing the island, and the complex legacies of Dutch control. It tells of the Japanese Occupation, the Indonesian Revolution, the massacres of 1965-66 and the onset of mass tourism under the Soeharto regime. Finally, it looks at recent economic progress, as well as its flip side - environmental problems generated by population growth and massive tourist development. It also draws on Balinese opinion about the meaning of the island's past and its future in the new Indonesian democracy.

A Short History of Bali is an important insight into the complicated and surprising history of one of Asia's most captivating societies.

Robert Pringle's A Short History of Bali is available from amazon.com where it was reviewed by Murni of Murni's Warung who said: "Robert Pringle writes in a clear, easy style and covers a large sweep in 231 pages - from Java Man 1.5 million years ago (no evidence he made it to Bali) to August 2003, when the first death sentence was passed on Amrozi, one of the terrorists responsible for the Bali bomb. It is not dry and academic - he talks about visits to Bali with his wife and historical sites. This gives the book a nice, personal touch. It would be a good read on holiday."