In 1945, Indonesia's declaration of independence promised: 'the details of the transfer of power etc. will be worked out as soon as possible.' Still working on the 'etc.' seven decades later, the world's fourth most populous nation is now enthusiastically democratic and riotously diverse - rich and enchanting but riddled with ineptitude and corruption. Elizabeth Pisani, who first worked in Indonesia 25 years ago as a foreign correspondent, set out in 2011, travelling over 13,000 miles, to rediscover its enduring attraction, and to find the links which bind together this disparate nation. Fearless and funny, and sharply perceptive, she has drawn a compelling, entertaining and deeply informed portrait of a captivating nation.
Exuberant and wise Pisani is an exceptionally resourceful observer of the ongoing battle to define Indonesia. --Pankj Mishra