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This reflective and provocative 1998 book outlines the emergence of the nation-states of modern Southeast Asia. It considers various ways of looking at Southeast Asian history, combining narrative, analysis, and discussion. The book focuses mainly on the period from the eighteenth century to the present. It is divided into three sections: the first gives a broad historical overview of Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, the Philippines, Burma/Myanmar, Vietnam, and Siam/Thailand; the second reflects, in a comparative context, on significant problems in understanding Southeast Asia's past and present; the third explores the current state of writing Southeast Asian history. Underlying the discussion is an awareness of how ongoing tensions between East and West shape history and frame the present. This book reflects a lifetime's scholarship and will become a major interpretive synthesis of modern Southeast Asia.