Recruit to Revolution: Adventure and Politics during the Indonesian Struggle for Independence
by John Coast and Laura Noszlopy
This gripping memoir narrates the formative years of the Indonesian nation through the lens of English adventurer John Coast. After years in Japanese POW camps where he first met Indonesians and learned Malay, this young British officer made his way back to Southeast Asia in order to help Indonesian Republicans in their struggle against Dutch rule. In time he became a trusted friend and employee of the new nation. John Coast’s life story is entangled with the history of the revolution: blockade-running; broadcasting from the besieged rebel capital; advocating for the Republicans to the press and politicians abroad; and having long discussions with President Sukarno. Later, John Coast and Sukarno’s shared love of Balinese music and dance bore fruit in the famous Dancers of Bali tour of the West End and Broadway, which in turn paved the way for Coast’s career as a leading international theatrical agent for the likes of Luciano Pavarotti, Bob Dylan, Ravi Shankar and Mario Lanza.
"Originally published in 1952, the memoirs of John Coast are deservedly being republished, this time with an introduction by Laura Noszlopy, which provides background information about the author’s improbable life." - Henk Schulte Nordholt, Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde 172 (2016) 111–153
John Alan Coast (1916–1989) was an extraordinary man. An art-lover, impresario and adventurer, he was also an accomplished writer and memoirist who wrote detailed and vivid accounts of how his life tangled with world events. Originally published in 1952, Recruit to Revolution was his second book.
Laura Noszlopy is an anthropologist, author, editor and Honorary Research Associate at Royal Holloway, University of London. Besides her research on Indonesia, she is working on the biography of John Coast and recently helped prepare a new edition of his first memoir, Railroad of Death.
Adrian Vickers is Professor of Southeast Asian Studies and Director of the Asian Studies Program at the University of Sydney. He is author of many works on Indonesian social and cultural history.
Publication year: 2015
368 pp / 229mm x 152mm
ISBN: 978-87-7694-164-2, Paperback
ISBN: 978-87-7694-163-5, Hardback