Author(s): Michael R. J. Vatikiotis
Thought-provoking and eye-opening, BLOOD AND SILK is a first-hand account of what it's like to sit at the table with deadly Muslim insurgents, or in the front room of a notorious political warlord - all in an effort to negotiate peace, and understand the reasons behind the violence. Peering beyond the brand-new shopping malls and shiny glass towers, Michael Vatikiotis probes the heart of modern Southeast Asia. Why are the region's richest countries riddled with corruption? Why do they harbour unresolved violent insurgencies and limp from one military coup to the next? How do deepening religious divisions and China's growing influence affect the region and the rest of the world? Vatikiotis tells the story of Southeast Asia using vivid portraits of the personalities who pull the strings, mixed with revealing analysis that is underpinned by years of experience of the countries involved, from the silver-platter levels of government to unpaved streets of their people. The result is a fascinating study of the dynamics of power and conflict in one of the world's fasting growing regions.
This book is for those that know a lot about South East Asian politics but can also inform those that know little. Using the first person, Vatikiotis draws you in, making it feel like you are a witness to the politics of the area. He clearly loves these countries, whilst still using a surgeon's precision to pull apart what makes them tick.
Elisa, Book Grocer
“Australians, Chris Bowen lamented recently, pay lip service to Asia. While millions of us visit every year, it is too easy to skim across the region’s surface. Few Australians speak Asian languages; most know little about our colossal neighbour Indonesia, let alone other ASEAN countries. Making matters worse, there is an astonishing dearth of quality books about Southeast Asia for a general audience. The region contains more than 600 million people; its economy is over $US2.4 trillion. Yet between academic monographs and the airbrushed presentations of these societies which appear in Lonely Planet guides there are comparatively few options. The publication of Michael Vatikiotis’s superb Blood and Silk: Power and conflict in modern Southeast Asia is therefore very welcome. Lip service to Asia is not something that can be said of Vatikiotis. With university degrees in Southeast Asian studies, he has spent thirty years in the region working as a journalist then conflict mediator; he speaks fluent Indonesian and Thai.”
David Fettling – Australian Book Review
Michael Vatikiotis is a graduate of the School of Oriental and African Studies in London and earned his doctorate from the University of Oxford. He is a member of the Asia Society's International Council and has a decade of experience working as a private diplomat and conflict mediator. Prior to that he worked as a research student and then a journalist based in Southeast Asia. @jagowriter