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The Jakarta Method: Washington's Anticommunist Crusade and the Mass Murder Program that Shaped Our World

Vincent Bevins



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18 September 2020
History of the Americas; Postwar 20th century history, from c 1945 to c 2000; Political science & theory; Espionage & secret services
In 1965, the U.S. government helped the Indonesian military kill approximately one million innocent civilians. This was one of the most important turning points of the twentieth century, eliminating the largest communist party outside China and the Soviet Union and inspiring copycat terror programs in faraway countries like Brazil and Chile. But these events remain widely overlooked, precisely because the CIA's secret interventions were so successful. In this bold and comprehensive new history, Vincent Bevins builds on his incisive reporting for the Washington Post, using recently declassified documents, archival research and eye-witness testimony collected across twelve countries to reveal a shocking legacy that spans the globe. For decades, it's been believed that parts of the developing world passed peacefully into the U.S.-led capitalist system. The Jakarta Method demonstrates that the brutal extermination of unarmed leftists was a fundamental part of Washington's final triumph in the Cold War.
By:   Vincent Bevins
Imprint:   PublicAffairs,U.S.
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 236mm,  Width: 160mm,  Spine: 34mm
Weight:   520g
ISBN:   9781541742406
ISBN 10:   1541742400
Pages:   320
Publication Date:   18 September 2020
Audience:   College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  General/trade ,  Primary ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Forthcoming

Vincent Bevins is an award-winning journalist currently working as Southeast Asia Correspondent for the Washington Post. He has reported from all across the region, while paying special attention to the 1965 massacre and contemporary Indonesian politics. He previously served as the Brazil Correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, also covering nearby parts of South America, and before that worked for both The Financial Times and The Guardian, in London. Among the publications he has written for are The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Economist, The Guardian, Financial Times, Foreign Policy, Folha de S.Paulo, The New Republic, Los Angeles Times, The New Inquiry, The Awl, The Baffler, and Paper Magazine. Bevins has appeared often as a guest expert on a wide range of media outlets, including NPR, the BBC, NBC, MSNBC, ABC News, HuffPost Live, Brazil's GloboNews and TV Brasil. He lives in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Reviews for The Jakarta Method: Washington's Anticommunist Crusade and the Mass Murder Program that Shaped Our World

A shocking portrait that few readers will forget....[Bevins's] research is solid and his conclusions convincing. A well-delineated excavation of yet another dark corner of American history. --Kirkus Reviews This is an indispensable book for all those interested in the Third World during the era of the Cold War, and in the links between various operations of 'the Anti-Communist International', a subject whose importance will I think only increase. It might in effect emerge that the decisive global changes were not the ones that we currently see as such (the fall of the Berlin Wall), but rather what happened in countries like China, India, Vietnam, Indonesia, Brazil. --Branko Milanovic, Brave New Europe One of the best, most informative and most illuminating histories yet of [the CIA] and the way it has shaped the actual, rather than the propagandistic, U.S. role in the world. --Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept Well-researched, packed with information, and very well-written. --O Estado de S. Paulo (Brazil) Truly captivating.... Vincent Bevins offers us a compelling historical narrative, which he combines with thorough analysis and deeply personal reflections. He merges the big story of the Cold War with the stories of real individuals whose lives were profoundly affected. He masterfully connects the 1964 Brazil coup with the mass violence that took place in Indonesia in 1965, before connecting that slaughter with a series of mass murder programs in Latin America and around the world. In doing so, he offers new knowledge and insights not only into the brutal anticommunist purge in Indonesia, but into the ways that US foreign policy reshaped the world following the Second World War. Bevins is a brilliant and compassionate writer, and The Jakarta Method is eye-opening. I really hope the world pays attention to this book. --Baskara T. Wardaya, Sanata Dharma University Indonesia, author of 1965 and Truth Will Out Trenchant....powerful....[Bevins] translates the findings of complex scholarly accounts into smooth and readable, if often heartbreaking, prose. --Boston Review Tragically, that which everyone believed we had left in the past has returned to spread throughout Latin America once more. The Jakarta Method allows us to understand the moment that Brazil is now living through, and its connection to a much larger, global scheme. --Paulo Coelho, author of The Alchemist and The Pilgrimage Through this transnational perspective, Bevins finds connections between unexpected locations.... [He] takes a broader approach, situating the violence within the global context of the Cold War, but the story he tells is still grounded in deep on-the-ground investigation and extraordinary personal narratives. --North American Congress on Latin America This, for my money, may be the must-read book about the Cold War. There have been quite a few, but this one is current, it's sweeping, and it's an absolute must-read, if you're only going to read one book to think about what that -maybe the most eventful period in human history - was all about....You cannot dismiss this book. --Robert Scheer, KCRW This fascinating book is a meticulous and shocking analysis of a little-known and horrifically bloody battle of the Cold War, but it is also something more. It places the Indonesia massacre of 1965 in its global context, showing how the United States both supported it and used it as a model for repression in other countries. --Stephen Kinzer, author of Overthrow, All the Shah's Men and Poisoner in Chief Riveting....As a polemic, The Jakarta Method is never anything less than conscientious and persuasive, but Bevins's book truly takes flight as a work of narrative journalism, tracing the history of America's violent meddling in Southeast Asia and Latin America through the stories of those it brutalized. --Jacobin In The Jakarta Method, Vincent Bevins argues persuasively that during the Cold War, the U.S. approved of mass murder campaigns to roll back communism in the Third World. This is a provocative, necessary book, an essential guide to anyone seeking a deeper understanding of our imperfect world. Highly recommended. --Jon Lee Anderson, New Yorker staff writer, author of Che Guevara and Inside the League Excellent...anchors itself in a history most Americans never learned or would rather forget. --Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post Essential and devastating. --Joshua Oppenheimer, director of The Act of Killing and The Look of Silence Bevins wrote The Jakarta Method to show how this recent but largely ignored part of our history very much informs the way we live today. He concludes with current information about his sources, some still fighting to simply have the truth of what happened in their countries acknowledged, others expatriated to places that will never completely feel like home. It can be inspiring to hear from people willing to excavate mass graves and bury victims with dignity, but to this day that truth is struggling to be heard. --Progressive Populist Bevins is not the first to note that the Cold War frequently burned hot in the Third World, but he excels at showing the human costs of that epic ideological struggle. --The New Republic Bevins has created a powerful record of the often-muddled events in Indonesia....The Jakarta Method offers an easily digestible chronology of this bloody period of Indonesian and world history. --South China Morning Post An exceptionally well-written narrative.... In a fascinating and disturbing journey around the world, Bevins documents the effects of Washington's virulent anticommunist crusade across several continents. --Tribune (UK) The Jakarta Method is a gripping, thoroughly original exploration into the global covert Cold War, the passions it provoked, and the corpses it left in its wake. A full tally of the body count of the transnational counterinsurgency Washington has been waging since the early 1960s is impossible. But Bevins' excellent book offers a different kind of reckoning, of moral costs and ongoing political consequences. 'Jakarta is coming' was spray-painted on the walls of Santiago Chile in 1972, just before that country's CIA-backed coup, a way for that nation's rich to let the poor know the fate that would befall them were they to continue to fight for a more just society. 'Jakarta' did come, leaving hundreds of thousands of dead throughout Latin America. And, in a way, it never left. --Greg Grandin, Yale University, author of Fordlandia and The End of the Myth

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