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Early Kingdoms of The Indonesian Archipelago and the Malay Peninsula Paperback – October 10, 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 392 pages
  • Publisher: Didier Millet,Csi (October 10, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9814155675
  • ISBN-13: 978-9814155670
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 5.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #545,769 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Paul Munoz has harboured a passion for history and ethnography since he was a youngster. He has spent many years travelling the world exploring the culture. Customs, and history of numerous civilizations.

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Customer Reviews

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Cassus Belli on July 28, 2008
Format: Paperback
So much of Western concepts have been imposed on the rest of the world today, such as sovereign nation-states, that books that try to discuss earlier cultures often suffer from misunderstood titles. Perhaps a better title could be 'Pre-Western Civilisations of Southeast Asia'. Other than specialists, Indonesian Archipelago and Malay Peninsular are locations most are probably not familiar with. Geographically, the book covers more than Southeast Asia, the focus is on, in modern times, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and (some) Philippines.

Munoz is French, but this is a bold attempt at getting to the heart of Southeast Asian history from the perspective of an Asian. Drawing on an impressive range of economic and cultural historiography, the author tries to narrate the early history (from AD 1st till 16th century) of this region in its proper context, before Eurocentric views were imposed onto this region.

An earlier critic compared this book with `The Indianized States of Souhteast Asia' by George Coedes, and I think the review may be missing the point. This book is not targeted at specialists or anthropologists but to the general reader. I suspect most readers will not care much of the specific inaccuracies. More importantly, from a cultural perspective Munoz has attempted, on some level, to explain the importance of environmental management, heritage management and conservation of the region.

Timely, because in recent years archaeologists have made significant finds in the region, such as H. Florienses in 2003 (Indonesia), dwarfism in 2006 (Palau Islands Micronesia). The section on Austronesian migration does not touch on these developments but it is still exciting to think that so much is being discovered so late in the evolution of mankind.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Paul Lawrence on August 20, 2011
Format: Paperback
For what is surely a niche subject area this work appears to tackle the difficult remit of being a serious reference work and something an ambitious layman may also like to read. And I have to say that it manages to walk this tight rope well. Paul Michel Munoz was a name known to me from his contribution to a book on Borobodur that I already owned and I found his style to be clear, concise and readable despite the somewhat heavy going induced by his subject matter. And that subject matter is to trace the known history of the area that today makes up the nations of Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia. And to tell that story he also has to cover parts of modern day Vietnam, Thailand and Burma due to the interconnected nature of the polities concerned, not to mention he also touches every so slightly on areas even farther afield such as China and India and this is due to the huge cultural and economic influences both these behemoths had on the area.

For all the intertwining history and the paucity of information in regards to certain matters the entire work hangs together rather well and the author is to be congratulated for being able to weave the chronological ordering of things sufficiently well to make the whole thing comprehensible. This is aided by a number of maps of the areas being discusses as well as some line drawings of artefacts and temple designs etc. A handy glossary and appendices also help the reader get to grips with the subject.

Not being a scholar of the area I can't attest to the utter accuracy of every word herein but I can say that it certainly gave me a vastly greater understanding of the history of the area and a thirst for more knowledge about it in the future.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A. Simon on July 16, 2008
Format: Paperback
The history of certain regions and certain countries in the world are very well known in the West. Others, however, seem to be terra incognita. The kingdoms of the Indonesian archipelago, like the Majapahit Kingdom, is a case in point and this book helps to fill the void. To be sure, like many scholarly works, there are dull passages, but this is not a novel.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Anton Zakharov on January 8, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Dear reader! If you want to know about early Southeast Asia, let your first choice be the famous and peerless monograph by George Coedes "The Indianized States of Southeast Asia". You can find it on www.Amazon.com .
On the contrary, the monograph by Paul Michel Munoz appears to be very problematic for any reader. First, it's a compilation with many mistakes and faults. For example, Munoz asserts that the inscription of Kalasan is written in Sanskrit and Old Malay (p. 132)! This record is truly written in Sanskrit but there are no parts in Old Malay (see Sarkar, Corpus of the Inscriptions of Java, vol. 1, 1971, p. 35-36). Munoz writes about Brahmans in the inscriptions of the king Mulavarman from East Borneo (p. 95) whereas these records refer only to viprah `priests'. Munoz believes that Srivijaya and Tarumanagara (on West Java) left "many/numerous" inscriptions (pp. 117, 104) whereas it's a well-known fact that the corpus of these records is very limited. Munoz asserts that "no officers or Brahmans were mentioned in Purnavarman's inscriptions" (p. 206) but only two pages above he cited the Tugu inscription of the king where you can read brahmanair "by the Brahmans". That the area of Bukit Seguntang near modern Palembang formed the `city thriving between economic activity between the 7th and 13th centuries" (p. 117), is not completely wrong but we knows nothing about its functioning in the second half of the 8th - first half of the 9th centuries as Prof. Manguin has shown in his papers concerning the archaeology of Sumatra. Munoz translates the Kedukan Bukit inscription of Srivijaya as "On April 682 AD, a king left the city with vessels..." ( p. 124).
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