SUKARNO, AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY AS TOLD TO CINDY ADAMS
Hardcore historians might sneer at Sukarno’s autobiography, which aims to present the founding president in an appealing light to Western audiences. This book was written by American journalist and gossip columnist, Cindy Adams. Her husband, comedian Joey Adams, was assigned by US President John F. Kennedy in 1961 as a cultural ambassador to Southeast Asia. His work took him to Jakarta’s State Palace, where he and Cindy met Sukarno. At that time, Cindy was in her early 30s and Sukarno, a notorious lecher, was struck by her beauty. He agreed to an interview and was impressed with her subsequent article. After returning to New York, she received a message from the American ambassador: Sukarno wanted her back in Indonesia to write his autobiography.
She spent several weeks interviewing him and listening to his life story. The resulting book, published when Sukarno lost his grip on power in 1965, is hugely entertaining. His love of Indonesia shines through. So too do his vanity, humour and uninhibited candour. People seeking more academic histories of Indonesia could consider The
Religion of Java (1960) by Clifford Geertz,
The Decline of Constitutional Democracy in Indonesia (1962) by Herbert Feith, and
A History of Modern Indonesia since c.1200 (3rd edition, 2001) by M.C. Ricklefs.