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Crossroads: A Popular History of Malaysia and Singapore Paperback – December 1, 2010


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Product Details

  • Series: A Popular History of Malaysia and Singapore
  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Marshall Cavendish Corp/Ccb; 2nd edition (December 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9812615229
  • ISBN-13: 978-9812615220
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.2 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,849,424 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Baker's thrilling book profits from his refusal to separate Singapore s history from Malaysia's. What we get is a broad story filled with surprising details drawn from his own experiences and from other scholarly works, and told in an easy and captivating style. --Dr Ooi Kee Beng, Fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore

Jim Baker's Crossroads is bound to raise more than a few eyebrows in more than a few quarters. His book presents a side of history not many may be aware of or even want to know ... it is as thought-provoking as it is enlightening. --The Sun (Singapore --Dr Ooi Kee Beng, Fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore

Baker's thrilling book profits from his refusal to separate Singapore s history from Malaysia's. What we get is a broad story filled with surprising details drawn from his own experiences and from other scholarly works, and told in an easy and captivating style. --Dr Ooi Kee Beng, Fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore

About the Author

Jim (James) Baker is a history and economics teacher at the Singapore American School. He is an American who has lived in Singapore for most of his life. He first published Crossroads in1999, and has subsequently written The Eagle in the Lion City (2005), an academic history of the American presence in Singapore, and Singapore's Eagles (2006), a 50th anniversary publication of the Singapore American School.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Carter Stanton on December 23, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I took a class taught on this book, it was fantastic. The things I learned through reading this book, and the knowledge I can now share people is great. Learning the truth behind who REALLY founded Singapore, the details of the Japanese Occupation in Singapore, the British's impact on Malaya, and the many religions practiced was made extremely interesting through Baker's words and thoughts. The facts and Baker's views were portrayed brilliantly, a must read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Super on June 9, 2014
Format: Paperback
This book is a well written primer on the history of the region as it relates to the Malay people and more specifically Singapore and Malaysia. Its focus is Singapore. Simple language and and a clear narrative are the strengths of this work. It is perfect for a holiday traveller as background to exploring the culture and history of Malaysia and Singapore, or as an easy to digest map for further study. Very enjoyable. Weaknesses are a lack of referencing and an acceptance of some traditional narratives. However, overall it does the job.

Hope this helps.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Steve Howard on January 14, 2012
Format: Paperback
Crossroads provides an easy to read exploration of the key historical events and influences that shaped present day Malaysia and Singapore. The history of these nations represents more than 2,000 years of multi-cultural interaction, largely the result of their geographic location. Malaysia's strategic sea-lane position brought trade and foreign influences that fundamentally influenced its history. The central theme is how the movement of culture, products and people throughout the area influenced the social, political, economic, cultural and religious characteristics of both nations. This is more a social history than a political one. It emphasizes the different cultures and broad influences on society rather than politics. Although there is discussion of the major political events which shaped the history of the two nations, these were presented as components in the overall theme of the book. Crossroads was published in 1999, and in 2010, a second edition was released, which may provide some additional insights. Nevertheless, as the author, Jim Baker astutely points out, "...before current events can be judged from a historical perspective, there needs to be distance of time."
When writing about history, it's easy to get caught up in minutiae such that the salient themes and messages are lost. Baker's treatment of this subject does not dwell on the trivial, and thus is not overly detailed, but he does a very effective job condensing a large amount of complex ideas into a digestible whole. His unique approach offers the reader a broad outline, but with enough examples that it leaves a lasting impression. And he clearly enjoys the storytelling aspects of his craft, which keeps it interesting.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By RRuml on January 14, 2012
Format: Paperback
Crossroads provides the reader with an in-depth historical perspective of Singapore and Malaysia from the perspective of an American who has spent most of his life living and working in Singapore. Jim Baker provides succinct, poignant, and entertaining read of the area in a fashion reminiscent of Mitchner from an historical standpoint - he starts at that very beginning and brings you to the present.
Baker does a very good job of delivering a comprehensive history of the Malay Peninsula. Crossroads covers all of the aspects of the development of the people and the culture of the area from 2500 BC forward to 2008. He touches the aspects of religion, culture, migration and in the case of Holland and Britain, ruling the country or at least portions of it. Crossroad's accentuates the impact of the "Chinese Invasion" and its impact from supplying a major workforce to the impact of the Chinese gangs, opium dens, prostitution and crime. Baker develops the impact the Chinese language had on the legacy Malay language as well as the customs, as it provides a constant reminder of the continuing racial separation of the country.
Crossroads is an important historical document showing the critical influence of the most important facet of the region - it is a crossroads. The world now sees Singapore and Malaysia as a primary crossroad for commerce and trade. A simple, humble beginning has been rewarded in the evolution of this area to a primary player in the world scene. Singapore is regarded as a trade and cultural center positioned between India and China. As well, Kuala Lumpur is a shining testament to the enduring efforts to bring the area to prominence. Baker provides a detailed account of the area punctuated by stirring events that mark Malay as a "must visit" location for the global traveler.
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By Keith B. on February 28, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderful book as Jim Baker knows what he is talking about as he has lived in Singapore his entire life (60-70 years). So, naturally, some of the history of Singapore he knows first-handed, as he acurately describes how the nation became a first world country. This gives the truthful and honest facts of both Singapore and Malaysia as it is a must read for anyone looking for the best info. on these two nations.
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By Keith B. on February 28, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book is wonderful, as it fully explains the history of Singapore and some wonderful facts, not commonly found within many other books on Singapore. Jim Baker is an excellent teacher and writer, talking about the thing he knows best, Singapore, as he has lived there his whole life. This is the book to go to for the true and honest facts of both Singapore and Malaysia. A must read.
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