A new shipment of 40 boxes of books have now arrived in Indonesia and are now safely in storage.  We need to finish building the Library so the books can be moved and shelved and the library can go

into operation. Your support through a donation and helping share the link to our crowdfunding site will help a great deal.

Viva Books! Viva Ideas!

Click HERE


There is now a Crowding site for the Indonesian Community And Activist Library project.

We are using the IndieGoGo Generosity platform. You can donate using a credit card and, of course, please share to others who may also like to support this project.

You can read more about the project HERE. This is also the site where you can donate.

Donate and help complete this project. Long live books!

For related links, reports see:


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There is now a Crowding site for the Indonesian Community And Activist Library project.

We are using the IndieGoGo Generosity platform. You can donate using a credit card and, of course, please share to others who may also like to support this project.

You can read more about the project HERE. This is also the site where you can donate.

Donate and help complete this project. Long live books!

For related links, reports see:



The slave Spartacus and reading Dalton Trumbo

Reading Dalton Trumbo

(Spontaneous thoughts.)

It was Hollywood that got me. In particular the film Spartacus, produced and starring Kirk Douglas, directed by Stanley Kubrick and screenplay by Dalton Trumbo. The other main roles were played by Jean Simmons, Laurence Olivier and Peter Ustinov. The film was inspired by Howard Fast’s wonderful novel, also called Spartacus. The film was a Hollywood spectacular, with a “casts of thousands”, huge battle scenes between the rebel slave army and the Roman Legions. There was no CGI then, back in the 60s, just extras from the Spanish Army. I saw it first when I was quite young, so the spectacular romance and adventure would have been very appealing to a boy from the boring Western suburbs of Sydney.


Dalton Trumbo

But the story was also inspiring. Millions of so-called ordinary people, oppressed under a violent and anti-human slave system, led by their most militant section – gladiators – rise up and refuse to be slaves and keep the most powerful army in the world at bay for years. And they do it right in the heart of the Roman Empire – in Italy.

It is a beautiful film, both visually and its words; its dialogue. In today’s world, ridden with cynicism, in general, and on the intellectual Left, with cynicism over-layered with layers of artificially created “nuance”, some may react to this beauty as corny. But there is nothing corny about an idealistic desire to be free so that human beings can savour the beautiful things around them without the embitterment of being treated as an animal or a thing: the stars, knowledge of nature and the world, a kiss and embrace. “A tool with a voice”: that was a slave.


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Indonesia Community and Activist Library (ICAL)

The Project.


This project is to establish a Library for the use of community and campus activists in the student city of Yogjakarta, Indonesia.  Indonesia experienced 33 years of authoritarian government from 1965-1998 during which time book acquisitions for school, university and community libraries were underfunded and, when funded, narrow and censored. The ICAL will, in a small but effective way, help improve this situation. The Library will comprise a selection of mostly English language books in the humanities, social sciences and literature.  The books comprise the collections of Australian progressive activists and intellectuals. About 3,000 books have already been shipped to Indonesia and are in storage waiting for the construction of the Library building to be completed.


Half completed library building and manager’s bungalow.

The Library will be open to members. The first members will be invited on the recommendation of a panel of university professors and also social justice activists. New members can join by applying with recommendations from two existing members.

The Library will be managed by well-known Indonesian woman playwright and theatre producer and director, Faiza Mardzoeki. (  She will be assisted by a Principal Consultant, Dr Max Lane ( Dr Lane is a well-known writer on Indonesian and Southeast Asian Affairs and is also the translator of several of the novels of Pramoedya Ananta Toer, including the Buru Quartet published by Penguin Books. (see

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Writing the epic story of Pramoedya Ananta Toer and Indonesia

I am currently working to finish a book: Indonesia Returns from Exile: The Buru Quartet Story

Pramoedya Ananta Toer is the author of four books known outside Indonesia as the “Buru Quartet”. They are This Earth of Mankind, Child of All Nations, Footsteps and House of Glass. These books were first published in Indonesian between 1981 and 1987 and In English starting in 1983. They have remained in print in English in Penguin Books since 1983 until today, as well as having been published in hardback in the United States by Hyperion Books as well as . You can read about them in reviews in the New York Times, the New Yorker, the Washington Post and many others. For my own take on why you should read these books, see here. For some at random readers’ comments, you can also click here.

Within Indonesia, their conception and writing by Pramoedya Ananta Toer and their publication by his comrades-in-publication, Joesoef Isak and Hasyim Rachman is no normal story of publishing books. Their story is a novel in itself, a political drama, an adventure epic, a thriller.

Pramoedya conceived the novels in the midst of a political and cultural war for the soul of the new Indonesian nation, submerged in his country’s archives and desperately searching for the source of its woes in its history.  That battle was resolved with the killings of hundreds of thosuands and the imprisonment of tens of thousands of men and women, including Pramoedya, Hasyim Rachman and Joesoef Isak.

Januari 1981

He wrote these books, and four others, locked away in a prison camp, on a remote and harsh island, in barracks built by the bare hands of 14,000 male prisoners, on an old typewriter and using scant paper and only after almost ten years of being denied any reading materials. The novels took shape in his mind as he told them to his fellow prisoners waiting for roll call or as they lay on their mats after lights out in the prison hut in the land cleared from jungle on Buru Island. And never has a writer typed with so absent margins, upper, lower, left and right.

2803ha12 Joesoef Isak

Joesoef Isak, who edited Pramoedya’s manuscripts and defended his books, going back to prison again for 3 months after his first almost ten years in prison.

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Why you should read Indonesia’s THIS EARTH OF MANKIND by Max Lane

In January 2014 Joshua Oppenheimer’s film on Indonesia, The Act of Killing, was nominated for an academy award, reflecting its penetration into mainstream film watching. Many people will be introduced to Indonesia by this vivid study of the country’s ruling lumpen elite. Another, very different, introduction to Indonesia might be reading Pramoedya Ananta Toer’s historical novel Bumi Manusia (This Earth of Mankind).

The English language edition of This Earth of Mankind was published by Penguin in 1983. The sequels to this novel, Child of All Nations, Footsteps and House of Glass, were published over the following several years by Penguin in Australia and the United Kingdom. They were launched into the United States by William Morrow, Hyperion and Penguin in the 1990s. As their translator, I am very pleased to see that they are still in print 30 years later, having had many reprints. The four novels are likely to appear soon as eBooks, Penguin USA having bought the eBook rights. They appear already to be advertised as eBooks for Kindle on


Pramoedya’s work has, on the whole, met with critical acclaim in the West, in particular the United States. The publication of other translations followed, such as Silent Songs of a Mute,Fugitive, Girl from the Coast and collections of short stories. In 1992 the New York Times reviewer wrote:

Now comes a book of far greater scope and depth from independent Indonesia’s greatest but still most controversial fiction writer, whose career spans more than 40 years. “This Earth of Mankind,” the first in a cycle of four novels, is the tale of a bittersweet coming of age in Java, Indonesia’s dominant island, almost a century ago. Through it, we are taken back to the days of nascent Indonesian nationalism. But the author is a humanist, not a propagandist, and so his novel is also a wonderful example of the best storytelling tradition of his country.[1]

In 1996, after House of Glass appeared, the Washington Post reviewer wrote:

The Buru Tetralogy is one of the 20th century’s great artistic creations, a work of the richest variety, color, size and import, founded on a profound belief in mankind’s potential for greatness and shaped by a huge compassion for mankind’s weakness.[2]

Jamie James in his article “The Indonesiad” in The New Yorker wrote:

Pramoedya’s masterwork is the Buru Quartet, a cycle of novels set in the final, decadent years of Dutch colonialism in Java. The series follows the life of a revolutionary journalist named Minke. The first native Javanese boy to attend the elite Dutch colonial high school, Minke is full of idealistic notions about European progress. The process of his disillusionment and forging of his Indonesian identity – a new element in the periodic table of history – [forms] the novels’ core. The Buru Quartet is saturated with the gothic gloom and steamy atmosphere of the rain forest. With the publication this month, by William Morrow, of the quartet’s final volume, “House of Glass,” and the paperback reissue, by Penguin, of its predecessors, “This Earth of Mankind,” “Child of All Nations,” and “Footsteps,” American readers can now follow Pramoedya’s saga of Minke – one of the most ambitious undertakings in postwar world literature – from beginning to end.[3]

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Buku UNFINISHED NATION lagi discount

“Buku ini dengan sangat baik mengambarkan betapa pentingnya peran kelompok pelopor,mobilisasi massa dan aksi massa dalam menggerakan sejarah Indonesia . Itu sebabnya buku ini hamper sepenuhnya berlawanan dengan pandangan penelitian tentang Indonesia selama ini, baik dari indonesia sendiri maupun luar negeri, yang selalu menghilangkan peran massa, mobilisasi massa, aksi massa dan ingatan akan revolusi dalam melihat sejarah Indonesia pasca kemerdekaan.”


Click dibawah untuk mendapatkan cara memesannya.:

Unfinished Nation Ingatan Revolusi Aksi Massa dan Sejarah Indonesia

oleh Max Lane