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The Admiral's Baby [Hardcover]

Laurens Van Der Post

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Book Description

Jan 1997
In this sequel to "Night of the New Moon", the author has been freed from the Japanese POW camp in Java. He watches his fellow prisoners disappear back home, while he, the most senior British officer, has to remain to help his former, often brutal Japanese guards to keep the peace in Java.
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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and unusual 30 Oct 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
An uncommon look at history from a creator of history. Mr. Van der Post's illuminating mystical humnanistic work describes his position at the vanguard of British efforts to keep the lid on the island of Java while transitioning from the Japanese occupation to a new political system. It is also an intensely personal exploration of the author's feelings and realizations after his 3 1/2 years of cruel confinement in a Japanese prison camp, after which he was asked to monitor the Japanese till the takeover of Allied forces was complete. Add to the mix a highly charged nationalism appearing unexpectedly in the Indonesian population aimed primarily at their former overlords the Dutch, and there is plenty to follow in this very dense read. I highly recommend it.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An extraordinary description of post WWII Indonesia 3 Jun 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
A description of the actions of a lone remaining British former POW in Post World War II Java (Indonesia) While the story is fascinating the author's poetic writing style and pscychological insights make it both hauntingly beautiful and intellectually challenging. I highly reccommend it for the reader interested in different writing styles.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Life, Death and Politics in postwar Indonesia 12 Aug 2000
By Lawrence D. Walker - Published on Amazon.com
The title of this book is misleading, though humorous. Distracted on the one hand by messages from `everywhere', and especially from Lord Mountbatten's headquarters, and plagued on the other: 1)by the need to deal with the surrendered Japanese (who were charged to guard the still full prisoner camps from those Indonesians bent on revenge against the Dutch); 2)by the imperious demands of the Dutch; and 3)by the disunited but potentially dangerous Indonesians, Admiral Patterson, on the Cumberland, anchored in the harbor at Batavia, sent this message to Lord Mountbatten: "We can continue to rock the baby to sleep only if you people outside the house would not make so much noise." Van der Post "promised the Admiral that night, that if [he] lived, [he] would one day write a story about all that had happened and was happening to [them] in Indonesia, and call it The Admiral's Baby"(74). A bit unfortunate, as the title has nothing to do with the contents of this book, which is an account of how the British dealt with the enormously complex task that had been thrust upon them in postwar Indonesia. [Incidentally, van der Post had the highest regard for both Admiral Patterson (he dedicated the book to Patterson and to General Philip Christison) and for Lord Mountbatten, for whose powers of intuition he had the greatest admiration.] The occasion for the writing of this book, near the end of his long life, was van der Post's coming across in his papers a copy of the extensive report that he had written for the Secretary of State of Foreign Affairs on the history of this British period in Indonesia. It is an important document in its own right, is printed in full here, and is amplfied by much of the rest of the book. Both book and document contain scathing attacks on those Dutch who believed that they could simply move in, if necessary by force, and reestablish themselves as colonial masters, as though the war had not changed things forever. Van der Post occasionally attacks puffed up British officers as well, though he tries, and his psychological insight is great, to understand them. On the whole, however, he worked with men and women whom he found admirable and he had a penetrating ability to judge character. Although the book is a bit disjointed, on a deep level it has a certain unity. Van der Post deeply respected what he saw as an underlying Buddhism in Indonesia, and was overwhelmed by the sacred Buddhist monument, the Borobudur. He ends his book with a religious reflection of his own, that we are put here "to fulfil to the utmost what one was born to be...."(321).
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