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This book was spectacular, going beyond my high expectations. I expected all that has been described by others- a macro look at a global story, one with the USA intimately involved. I wasn’t expecting the personal stories, bringing personalities and humour(!) to quite an unbelievable reframing of history. I learned an embarrassing amount...
Remember that leftist slogan, “Another world is possible”? Turns out, not only was another world possible, but in fact another world did exist, for a while at least, until it was brutally, violently, ruthlessly and systematically suppressed. Right after World War 2, as much of the Third World was shaking off the shackles of colonialism, the U.S. kicked off a counter-offensive, providing overt and covert military assistance and diplomatic and economic support to topple left-leaning governments and slaughter leftist movements across the Third World. Vincent Bevins tells in “The Jakarta Method” the story of how these anti-communists massacres to a large extent shaped the world we live in today. As a result, a global system was created “that only had two basic structural types – Western advanced capitalist countries and resource-exporting crony capitalist societies shaped by anticommunism” and most of the countries affected by the U.S.-backed global anti-communist campaign “slid right into the second category, becoming very much like Brazil” (p. 241).
This book offers a key frame through which to understand the triple crisis – climate collapse, the rise of the far-right, and economic downturn – affecting the world today. For that reason, it is perhaps the most important book in international politics published in 2020.
holiday paradise exposed as a rear guard action of the cold war, another fledgling democracy strangled at birth, if this is the real price to be paid for our liberty, status and material wealth. One must question it. Well written in a style that is easy to relate to. Many restaurants were founded by women in Bali this book explains why
It felt like it was written for an adolescent audience. The narrative was very broken up; the author inserted new characters and their personal anecdotes without telling you who they were. You need to have wikipedia ready while reading the book to look up the obscure people and events he references because he does not explain. The author also goes off on many different tangents in an attempt to create a web of stories that all fit together by the end of the book. The stories are interesting and most add support to his overall thesis, but it creates a very disjointed reading experience. I was expecting the book to be written at a higher level.
Vincent Bevins' book is as exciting as a novel, written with the fluidity of a news article and the depth of a historical-political essay. The story told by Bevins, excellently documented, sheds light on a chapter of our history and perhaps suggests that our lives could have been different if important collective and popular initiatives had not been dramatically boycotted by the usual strong, greedy and cynical powers. The Jakarta Method is a touching story about the life of people who could be us. A must read for those who want to build their own awareness and the ability to understand even the small news events in their imperceptible complexity and strategic depth: at stake there is always the freedom to choose who to be and which side to be on.
Pietro Fiocchi (Journalist, MA Political Sciences)