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Catalog Archive / Fall 2022

Buried Histories
The Anticommunist Massacres of 1965-1966 in Indonesia

Critical Human Rights
Scott Straus and Tyrell Haberkorn,
Series Editors; Steve J. Stern, Editor Emeritus

“In compelling prose and with heartbreaking intimacy, Roosa offers the most important collection of case studies of the Indonesian massacres ever published. Buried Histories is a study of the many forms of annihilation—of human beings, of hope, of evidence, and of memory. By describing these forms so clearly, Roosa offers hope, because only if we understand them can we recognize them as they are being mobilized. This is an essential, masterful, and devastating book for anyone who cares about the history and mechanics of human evil.”
—Joshua Oppenheimer, director of The Act of Killing and The Look of Silence

In 1965-66, supporters of the Communist Party of Indonesia were regularly killed in army-organized massacres. Very few of these atrocities have been studied in any detail, and answers to basic questions remain unclear. What was the relationship between the army and civilian militias? How could the perpetrators come to view unarmed individuals as dangerous enemies of the nation? Why did Communist Party supporters, who numbered in the millions, not resist?

Based upon years of documentary research and personal interviews with victims, Buried Histories is an impressive contribution to the literature on genocide and mass atrocity, addressing themes of media, military organization, economic interests, and resistance.


Photo: John Roosa. John Roosa is an associate professor at the University of British Columbia and the author of Pretext for Mass Murder: The September 30th Movement and Suharto's Coup d'État in Indonesia.




“Roosa portrays a tense political environment that gave no real hint of the killing that was to follow. This book represents a major breakthrough in presenting the killings in their immediate context and in the richness of is oral history data.”
—Robert Cribb, Australian National University

“In a meticulously researched and compellingly argued study, John Roosa presents, for the first time from up close, the history of Indonesia’s anticommunist massacres in 1965–1966. Through personal narrating, he details the experiences emerging from small, individual stories and connects them in an original attempt to help us understand this national event as an instance of genocide or mass atrocity against civilians. . . . By unearthing the details of the massacres, the book sheds light on one of the world’s most atrocious tragedies of the twentieth century.”
Bijdragen tot de taal-, land- en volkenkunde / Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences of Southeast Asia



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Of Related Interest


Pretext for Mass Murder:
The September 30th Movement and Suharto's Coup d'État in Indonesia
John Roosa

Buried Histories: cover art of a large crowd of illustrated people, all colored red, with a blue sky above and trucks and tanks in the distance.

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New in Paperback!
September 2022
LC: 2019041277 DS
376 pp. 6 x 9
28 b/w illus., 4 maps

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Paper $28.95 S
ISBN 9780299327347
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Cloth $79.95 S
ISBN 9780299327309
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