Imperialism in Southeast Asia examines its subject against a backdrop of those countries that could at a given time be called imperialist: Britain, France, Spain, the Netherlands and the US. Examining the imperialist phenomenon from this wide-ranging perspective reveals imperialism as driven by rivalry; it also facilitates comparison: imperialism has elements in common, yet differs according to the territory in which it operates.
This is one of the few studies of imperialism to concentrate on Southeast Asia. Nicholas Tarling's definition of imperialism focuses on the establishment of political control from 1870 to 1914. Moving forward in time, the author analyses attempts to re-establish control after the overthrow of imperial regimes in the Second World War. Most recently, Southeast Asia has become a region of independent states, and Tarling discusses imperial ventures as forms of state-building. At the same time, his discussion reflects another contemporary concern-globalisation and the relationship of the state to that process.
Nicolas Tarling is an eminent writer in Asian history. His latest book will be of great interest to all those studying or involved in Asian studies, history and politics.
Nicholas Tarling is a Fellow of the New Zealand Asia Institute, University of Auckland, New Zealand.