Full disclosure: This was an ARC (Advanced Readers’ Copy) given to me through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers’ program. In exchange, I agreed to give an honest review.
Pages 1 – 106
In asking for this book, my hope was that I would gain more insight into Islamic extremism. I don’t know much about Indonesia, so thought this would be one way to learn more about both.
Let me just say that while I plan on finishing the book, it is difficult to connect to. Each chapter reads like a vignette about the people the author meets in the places he goes. The one thread through these vignettes is Herry Nurdi, managing editor of the Islamist publication Sabili, who makes many of the introductions for Sadanand Dhume.
These 100 pages contain a prologue about Dhume’s experience in Bali when the bombings of 2002 occurred. An Indonesian Islamic extremist group was held responsible.
Chapter One is about the travels around Java meeting and talking with people about Islam, nationalism, Suharto, Sukarno, and culture. It is a whirlwind tour of VIP clubs featuring pop stars who write graphic poems about sex, drag performers, an Islamic televangelist, and Herry Nurdi. Just to name a few.
There’s so little context going from one part to the next that I feel lost a lot, and find myself asking “Now who is this guy?” It’s my hope that some of this will start to come together later in the book. There’s a lot of information to sift through.