Anti-communist Massacres in Indonesia

RoosaOlle Törnquist of the Department of Political Science, University of Oslo in Norway reviews John Roosa’s Buried Histories: The Anticommunist Massacres of 1965–1966 in Indonesia for JCA. The book was published by The University of Wisconsin Press in 2020.

Roosa’s new book adds to knowledge about the 1965-66 mass murders of communists and others deemed political opponents of the military regime that seized power, led by General Suharto.

Törnquist considers Roosa’s main contribution to be “his careful oral history approach in case studies of the … dynamics of the military co-operation with militias and vigilantes.” Roosa uses “a longer historical perspective” and looks at massacres in Central Java, Bali, South Sumatra and Riau. Despite variation, his “careful and convincing” analysis points “to the dynamics of the shared triangular relation between the central and local military and anti-communist groups.”

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