Book Reviews

We are currently accepting book reviews of titles both from our curated list from NIAS Press, and of books from other publishers.

Reviews should contextualise books within a field, approach their overall argument analytically, and/or provide concise treatment of the book’s contribution to state-of-the-art literature. Reviews that simply summarise contents without critical, in-depth reflection and discussion will not be accepted.

Authors interested in submitting a book review of a NIAS Press publication should write to, with in cc.  We send authors a copy of books to be reviewed if required, and we assign a deadline for the book review.

Book Review Guidelines
Please use the guide below to assist you with structuring your book review.

At the top of the first page of your review, give a complete bibliographic citation for the book. This includes full names of authors, complete book title, place of publication, publisher, date of publication, number of pages, special features (such as illustrated/heavily illustrated, an enclosed DVD, foreword by a noteworthy individual etc.), ISBN number, and hardcover or paperback edition:

Brødsgaard, Kjeld Erik and Zheng, Yongnian (eds.). Bringing the Party Back In – How China is governed. Buffalo: Cavendish Square Publishing, 2004, 320 pp., ISBN: 978-9812102522 (paperback).

No abstract is needed

The introductory paragraphs should give the reader an understanding of the nature and scope of the book: introduce the author; give a short description of the book’s contents; describe the organization of the book; describe the contribution of the book to the literature etc.

Follow with an objective evaluation of the book’s contents by critically assessing the author’s central argument, the evidence, and the book’s contribution

Give full names of every person mentioned in the review

Acronyms and abbreviations should be spelled out the first time they are used

Do not use footnotes

When quoting from the book or citing examples, include the page number for reference

At the end of the review, include your name, title and institutional affiliation

Maximum length for a book review is 1,000 words

NIAS Press titles currently available for review:

Breast Cancer Meanings
Journey Across Asia
Edited by Cynthia Chou and Miriam Koktvedgaard Zeitzen
The book offers compelling narratives and analysis on the breast cancer epidemic sweeping Asia, explores the spectrum of breast cancer meanings in Asia to provide a nuanced picture of the disease and its efforts and focuses on how cultural and social relations shape the mdeical response to the disease. 
More details at

Departing from Java
Javanese Labour, Migration and Diaspora
Edited by Rosemarijn Hoefte & Peter Meel
Is the first systematic examination of the Javanese diaspora as a global phenomenon which traces the origins and analyses the development of this diaspora and surveys Javanese migration and communities in Asia (including the Middle East), Oceania and the Americas. More details at

Mythbusting Vietnam
Facts, Fictions, Fantasies
Edited by Catherine Earl
Is the first book to examine knowledge production processes and practices through the interdisciplinary case of Vietnam. It explores the results of new original research in cross-cutting areas of Vietnamese studies and focuses on a stimulating postmodern approach, based on the idea of mythbusting. More details at

Queer Comrades
Gay Identity and Tongzhi Activism in Postsocialist China
Hongwei Bao
This book is a quantum leap in scholarship on queer China. It is the first book on gay identity and queer activism in the PRC examined from a cultural studies perspective, and it offers keen insights on the PRC's socialist legacy. More details at

Politicized Society
Taiwan's Struggle with its One-Party Past
Mikael Mattlin

Is an updating of the acclaimed first edition which emphasizes how extreme politicization is the main internal threat to the sustainability of Taiwan's democratic politics. More details at

Thai Military Power
A Culture of Strategic Accommodation
Gregory Vincent Raymond
The book examines Thailand's strategic culture and external security and show how the past continues to influence Thai decision-making. It explores the interplay between Thai civil-military relations and the external strategic environment, with implications for Southeast Asia generally. More details at

Monarchical Manipulation in Cambodia
France, Japan, and the Sihanouk Crusade for Independence
Geoffrey C. Gunn
Is the first book to explain the agency of Cambodian monarchs in the face of broader colonial manipulation and international power plays. It explroes the historic interplay of charismatic power and political patronage in Cambodia and focuses on the tumultuous wartime and early post-war events surrounding Sihanouk's 'crusade' for Cambodia's independence. More details at

Empire and Environment in the Making of Manchuria
Edited by Norman Smith
This unique and compelling analysis of Manchuria's environmental history demonstrates how the region's geography has shaped China's past. Going beyond the traditional focus on rivalries between Manchuria's colonizing forces, the volume examines the interplay of climate and competing imperial interests in the region's vibrant - and violent - cultural narrative. More details at

Khaki Capital
The Political Economy of the Military in Southeast Asia
Paul Chambers and Napisa Waitoolkiat (Eds)
Is the first book to scrutinize the linkage between income sources of militaries and their political power in Southeast Asia. It explores the military-industrial complex in the region and focuses on how much economic clout Southeast Asian militaries have had and how this has influenced civil-military relations. More details at:

Resilience and Localisation of Trauma in Aceh, Indonesia
Catherine Smith
Studies the long shadow of violence and how people deal with it and promises to open up a valuable new perspective in Indonesian Studies.
More details at:

In the Land of the Pagodas
A Classic Account of Travel in Hong Kong, Macao, Shanghai, Hubei, Hunan and Guizhou
Alfred Raquez (Edited and translated by William L. Gibson and Paul Bruthiaux)
It takes readers on a vivid tour of fin-de-siècle China in the company of a Parisian boulevardier on the run and is a startlingly fresh voice from over 100 years ago. It the first English translation of a long out-of-print and sorely neglected work.
More details at:

Warring Societies of Pre-colonial Southeast Asia
Local Cultures of Conflict within a regional Context
Michael W. Charney and Kathryn Wellen (Eds)

The first book to identify and explain the diverse cultures of precolonial warfare across Southeast Asia which aims to decipher war situations independently of modern interpretations/constructions given them by states, cultural gatekeepers etc. More details at:

The Continuation of Ancient Mathematics
Wang Xiaotong's Jigu suanjing, Algebra and Geometry in 7th-century China
Tina Su Lyn Lim and Donald B. Wagner
Translation and analysis of the most important Chinese mathematical text of the Tang period and the first modern study of the entirety of this book in any language. Wang Xiaotong’s book reveals a stage in the development of the traditional Chinese algebra of polynomials.
More details at:

Contemporary Indonesian Art
Artists, Art Spaces and Collectors
Yvonne Spielmann
This book gives a comprehensive overview of the art scene in Indonesia today and makes the case for an emerging players on the global art market.
More details at:

Mapping Cultural Nationalism
The Scholars of the Burma Research Society, 1910-1935
Carol Ann Boshier
It offers insights into the development of nationalism in colonial Burma and informs current identity debates in Myanmar today. It is an important reference work for the study of boundary-crossing initiatives under British colonial rule.
More details at:

Energy, Governance and Security in Thailand and Myanmar (Burma)
Adam Simpson
A ground-breaking book that proposes a new critical approach to energy and environmental studies. It describes how environmental movements are providing ‘activist environmental governance’ for energy projects in the absence of effective and democratic governments. By comparing the nature of environmental activism under two very different political regimes, this book delivers crucial theoretical insights with both academic and policy implications.
More details at:

Chinese Ways of Being Muslim
Negotiating Ethnicity and Religiosity in Indonesia
Hew Wai Weng
This book offers unique insights into the cultural politics of Muslim and Chinese identity in Southeast Asia today and explores the intersections between Islam and Chineseness, as well as the formation of Chinese Muslim cultural identities in Indonesia. It engages with the notions of ‘inclusive Chineseness’ and ‘cosmopolitan Islam’ to explore the possibilities of ethnic and religious cosmopolitanism in contemporary societies.
More details at:

Follow the Maid
Domestic Worker Migrations in and from Indonesia
Olivia Killias
This book is the first ethnographic monograph to explore domestic workers migration in and from Indonesia, one of the main labour-sending countries in the world which follows the process of Indonesian women being recruited, trained, certified, sent abroad as domestic workers and returned home. It provides key insights into the gendered control of mobility and labour in times of neoliberal globalization and makes an important contribution to decentring critical migration scholarship.
More details at: