Review of The Killing Season: A History of the Indonesian Massacres, 1965-66, by Geoffrey Robinson


Geoffrey Robinson’s The Killing Season is one of the most-awaited books by the Southeast Asian studies community in 2018. The 456-page monograph explores in great detail the anti-communist massacres of Indonesia in 1965-66 and the long-term repercussions in the following decades. As one of the worst human atrocities in the 20th century, the mass killing led to the death of some half a million real and alleged communist members and sympathizers. After more than 50 years, however, reflections on this tragic event are far from sufficient. Although academic work in recent years spurred growing discussions within small circles, the mass violence has not received adequate attention from the international audience. Worse still, a troubling silence permeates Indonesia even today, as many of those who committed the atrocities have stayed in power. While victims struggled to find viable ways to pursue justice, numerous murderers managed to get away with impunity.