Indonesia, Etc.: Exploring the Improbable Nation

Indonesia, Etc.: Exploring the Improbable Nation is a travel book published in June 2014.

Indonesia, Etc.: Exploring the Improbable Nation
Indonesia, Etc. Exploring the Improbable Nation.jpg
AuthorElizabeth Pisani
Published23 June 2014, W. W. Norton Company
Media typeHardcover, Paperback, Audio book, E-Book

The book follows Elizabeth Pisani, an epidemiologist, on her travels throughout Indonesia in 2012-2013. She visits Sumba, Flores, Sulawesi, the Maluku Islands, Sumatra, Kalimantan, and Java, but not New Guinea. She mostly visits smaller cities and villages, most of which see few tourists. Along the way, she discusses recent Indonesian history, culture, politics, and economics, as well as the logistics of her trip and the people she meets during it.

Among the themes of the book are the conflict between Java (which has 60% of the population of Indonesia) and the rest of the country. According to Pisani, the Indonesian elites are dominated by the Javanese, especially those from Jakarta, and so Java dominates the outside image of Indonesia. As an attempt to counter this bias, Pisani spends most of her time on other, smaller islands.

Indonesia, Etc. received generally favorable reviews, and was listed among the best non-fiction books of the year by The Economist[1] and by The Wall Street Journal.[2] The Guardian gave Indonesia, Etc. a positive review, [3] describing it as "project[ing] a more optimistic and warmer picture of a fascinating country than most outside commentators". On the other hand, The New York Times gave a generally negative review, noting that "the book does not really grapple with Java or several of the other populous Indonesian islands". [4]


  1. ^ "Page turners". The Economist. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 2015-09-25.
  2. ^ Graphics, News. "Best Books of 2014: A Compilation". Retrieved 2015-09-25.
  3. ^ Glenny, Misha. "Indonesia Etc.: Exploring the Improbable Nation – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  4. ^ Kurlantzick, Joshua. "All Over the Map". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 November 2017.

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