The Indonesian Army from Revolusi to Reformasi – A Comprehensive Three-Volume History

I am a retired army officer, not a professional author or scholar. I was the U.S. Defense and Army Attaché to Indonesia for the final four and one-half years of my thirty-year military career, from November 1998 to June 2003.  While in Jakarta, I travelled extensively throughout the archipelago, met, interviewed and socialized with government, military and police officials from the highest levels in the capital to the lowest and most remote in the provinces.

I started working on this history in late-2004. As I set out to tell the story of the Indonesian Army, the work evolved into a comprehensive history – three thick volumes which I have self-published through the Amazon CreateSpace website. The books are available in soft cover or ebook from Amazon, Kindle and online booksellers.

This work represents my contribution to the body of literature about the Indonesian Army. I have sought to illuminate key personalities and events, to describe military operations and, more importantly, the deep involvement in politics. From the Indonesian Republic’s onset, there has been some form of military participation in political life – the more significant and interesting aspect of the Indonesian Army’s distinctive history.

Written in a journalistic style, these three volumes provide readers insights into Indonesian culture and help them understand why Indonesian soldiers have behaved the way they do – often in ways, from a western perspective, that must be considered less-than-honorable. It is really as much a history of Indonesia as it is a history of the Army. Each book contains new information, especially Volume 3 (The Reformasi Era) where I have drawn from personal experience. The chapters are extensively footnoted and include a generous number of photographs, tables and maps.

I do not offer policy prescriptions although the American policy dilemma toward Indonesia is a recurring theme. I am convinced we must be engaged to influence behavior. One of the painful lessons we have learned in Iraq and Afghanistan is that cultural change is a difficult and long-term process. The same is certainly true for Indonesia.

I will post blog comments from time to time, mostly extracts from the three volumes. I hope this will stimulate discussion. Please feel free to post any comments, clarifications and corrections on this website or contact me directly at jhd@the indonesianarmy.com. If you wish to be notified of new blog posts, please submit your email address on the blog page. For those who read the books, any comments on Amazon books would be appreciated.

Thanks to you,

Joe Daves


  1. 6-17-2015

    Mr Daves,
    Thankyou very much. Your three-volume project seems to be ten times better than anything else I’ve seen, a quantum leap from Bob Lowry’s papers twenty years ago and Ken Conboy’s KOPASSUS.

    Has your Volume 1 been reviewed in any academic journals so far? If so, would you be able to post the details? If not, would you like it reviewed, say for the Journal of Southeast Asian Studies or Conflict, Security, and Development?

    Many thanks again,

    Sincerely yours,

    Dr Colin Robinson
    Wellington, New Zealand

    • 6-17-2015

      Thanks for the kind comments Dr. Robinson.

      The three volumes have been available for a year now and have sold modestly. I have not marketed the books and have not received any academic reviews, just limited feedback on the Amazon website. Yes, of course I would welcome any formal reviews and can make available the e-books as desired.

      Understand the books are a bit daunting for those without a specific interest. Appreciate your attention.

      Best Wishes,

      • 6-17-2015

        Hi Joseph,
        Thankyou for your response. Indeed there is a specific audience but they’ll go on selling for decades, and should do better academically if they’re properly reviewed.

        The actual practice for academic journal reviews is that hard copies are provided by the publisher, rather than the author, to academics willing to conduct such a review. I’m well qualified to do so, given my cross-case familiarity with armies as diverse as Liberia to Somalia to the DRC to my own in New Zealand.

        Should you be interested, I suggest you talk to your publisher’s representative; feel free to revert to me after that.


        • 6-18-2015


          Thanks again for your gracious offer. A solid academic review would definitely help.

          My books are self-published (and self-edited) via the Amazon CreateSpace website. I had contacted Cornell, Oxford and ANU but found no interest from them in a three-volume military history.

          I can ship the three books to you from the CreateSpace website (and to anyone else who you recommend).

          I suggest we move the conversation to my email address: jhdaves@hotmail.com.


  2. 7-3-2016

    Get a 25% discount on the normal price of my e-books during the entire month of July 2016. Use coupon code SSW25 on Smashwords:


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