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The Singapore Story: Memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew Hardcover – October 14, 1998

85 customer reviews

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Hardcover, October 14, 1998
$219.61 $103.46

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

This book is being positively reviewed by Asiaweek Magazine, Newsweek, and National Interest Magazine.

From the Back Cover

Visionary? Authoritarian? Model for the West? Lee Kuan Yew, the long-time leader of Singapore, has been called all these things, and more. In these vivid memoirs, Lee takes a profoundly personal look back at the events that led to Singapore's independence and shaped its struggle for success. And, as always, he lets the chips fall where they may.In intimate detail, Lee recounts Singapore's unforgettable history. You'll be with Lee as he leads striking unionists against the colonial government; shares tea and rounds of golf with key players in Britain and Malaya; and drinks warm Anchor beer with leaders of the communist underground at secret midnight meetings. From British colonial rule through Japanese occupation in World War II, Communist insurrection, riots, independence -- and the struggles that followed -- few political memoirs anywhere have been this blunt, or this fascinating.Anyone interested in the political history of Singapore, Asia, and the modern world.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 680 pages
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall; 1st edition (October 14, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0130208035
  • ISBN-13: 978-0130208033
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,137,088 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

66 of 75 people found the following review helpful By John C. Taylor on December 12, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Mr. Lee's book is an outstanding exposition of his vision for Singapore and how he and dedicated comrades made it a reality. For me, it was a special experience in which I was able to check the accuracy of my own research of 25 years ago.
In 1976, my Master's thesis in Asian Studies was entitled Lee Kuan Yew, A Political Biography. It covered the period from Lee's birth until 1963, when Singapore became an independent nation.
In my readings of events in Malaysia and Singapore after WW2, it became apparent that two men, Lee Kuan Yew and Tunku Abdul Rahman, represented strikingly different points of view on how the region should develop. Lee was the assertive representative of the Chinese majority in Singapore (and would-be spokesman of all Straits Chinese). Rahman was a traditional Malay prince and Malaysian prime minister who held very conservative views based on the primacy of the bumiputra, the ethnic Malay minority in its own land. He could not afford to allow Lee to build up Chinese political power on the Malay mainland.
My thesis was simply that Lee Kuan yew came to hold a specific vision of what Singapore should be. When it became clear that his vision could not be realized as a part of Malaysia, there came the split which created the tiny island nation. I based my extensive readings and research mostly upon secondary sources, including writings by Alex Josey and others who worked closely with Lee. I also read Lee's collected speeches and other primary material, as much as was available.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that Mr. lee's first volume showed that I had been credibly accurate in my conclusions about what and how he did to create Singapore.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 4, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book is a gripping read and puts you strongly on LKY's side in the battle for freeing Singapore from the grips of the colonial British, the communists and finally the Malaysians. Very eye-opening for those Westerners who can't understand how this society came to be both so modern and remain so authoritarian. Full of personal honesty and insight.
LKY is one of the most amazing statespersons this century and is certainly one with incredible political skill - Singapore couldn't be half the country it is today without him. To have coexisted with communists in his party for 10 years and to still have kept his integrity took an inordinate amount of personal character - a strength which has served Singapore enormously well.
However, one complaint I have is that Mr. Lee does not provide a lot of personal insight into what drove him in the battle for Singapore - nowhere in the book does he talk about how or why his love for a free Singapore became so strong, and there is not a lot of insight into the source of his own strengths (of which there are many) and weaknesses (of which he has a few). He seems to have picked up views early on which have never lessened, even as times have changed - for example, he admits that he learned the importance of strong penalties for crimes from his experiences during the Japanese occupation in World War II, yet 50 years on Singapore is the country in the world with the highest number of executions per capita, even more than China - is it really still as important for the country to be as authoritarian now as the Japanese were in wartime?
Also, although Mr.
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39 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Music Fan on February 9, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Alright, the title was just to get your attention. Although LKY did recall his own childhood caning at the hands of his school master with a little too much relish. That said, the Singapore story is indeed a fascinating one - and in this book LKY did an excellent job of telling his account of that story. With everyone from Margaret Thatcher and George Bush to - somewhat unexpectedly - John Chambers (Cisco CEO) and Scott McNealy (SunMicro CEO) genuflecting in Lee's direction from the dust jackets, there's no need for me to rehash his greatness. Instead, I will try to stay on the critical side of things.
This book is the first in a 2 volume set covering the years from LKY's childhood to 1965, when Singapore was expelled from the Malaysian federation. The book is structured chronologically, thereby giving a very coherent narrative of the years in question. In contrast the 2nd volume of the set is organized into "thematic discussions" from which the reader must piece together the exact sequence of events. The second volume reads a bit like a political testament and will not surprise anyone already knowledgeable about modern Singapore and LKY's many pronouncements. Personally I find this volume to be more interesting because of the many insights that it provided into LKY's mind.
LKY's prose is much like the man himself - factual, direct, sometimes witty, always to the point. Eloquent rhetoric is not his forte, and his lawyerly obsession with details can be tedious at times. One also wishes that Mr Lee had been more reflective on his personal motivations and beliefs, or at least provided more analytical insights into the events and people that he described.
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