Revolution in the City of Heroes: A Memoir of the Battle that Sparked Indonesia’s National Revolution

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by Suhario Padmodiwiryo. Translated by Frank Palmos

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Written by a 24-year-old Indonesian medical student turned military commander named Suhario Padmodiwiryo, alias "Hario Kecik", Revolution in the City of Heroes is an evocative first-hand account of the popular uprising in Surabaya. The book vividly portrays the chaotic swirl of events and the heady emotion of young people ready to sacrifice their lives for a great cause. 

Newly liberated from nearly four brutal years under Japanese control, the people of Indonesia faced great uncertainty in October 1945. As the British Army attempted to take control of the city of Surabaya, maintain order and deal with surrendered Japanese personnel, their actions were interpreted by the young residents of Surabaya as a plan to restore Dutch colonial rule. In response, the youth of the city took up arms and repelled the force sent to occupy the city. They then held off British reinforcements for two weeks, battling tanks and heavy artillery with nothing more than light weapons and sheer audacity. Though eventually defeated, Surabaya’s defenders had set the stage for Indonesia’s national revolution.

"Indonesia is tagged in the media as Islamic — as though this is the one and only driver of the Republic. Nationalism is more powerful. This book reveals why."
Duncan Graham, New Mandala

"As a first-hand account of a period of high drama, 
Revolution in the City of Heroes is a genuinely gripping read. The prose is crisp and vivid... and there are many striking moments."
Tim Hannigan, Asian Review of Books 


"...invaluable to our understanding of the early days of the Indonesian republic...lively prose and distinctive style of translation make the book an enjoyable read.”
Johannes Nugroho, The Jakarta Globe

Suhario Padmodiwiryo, "Hario Kecik" to his friends and family, was born in Surabaya on 12 May 1921. He began a career in medicine but his studies were cut short by the arrival of the Japanese. After his extraordinary experiences as a Deputy Commander of forces fighting in Surabaya in 1945, he stayed in the newly formed Indonesian National Army, rising eventually to the rank of General. Later placed under house arrest by President Suharto, General Suhario published his memoirs in Indonesian in 1995.

Dr Frank Palmos is a journalist, historian and translator. In 1993, his translation of Bao Ninh’s The Sorrow of War was published to international acclaim.


Publication Year: 2015
224 pages, 229mm x 152mm 
ISBN: 978-9971-69-844-7, Paperback
Ridge Books