From Distant Tales
This is the most comprehensive book devoted to Sumatra in more than half a century. It summarizes earlier studies, and provides a huge amount of new knowledge for the first time in readily accessible form. Sumatra is one of the world's largest islands, rich in flora and fauna, minerals and timber, and located at the midpoint of the maritime route between China and India. These are ideal conditions for the creation of a fascinating history. Sumatra has played a major role in world trade for 2,000 years, but its culture and archaeology have been surprisingly neglected. This volume sets out to remedy this defect. With chapters on history, archaeology, anthropology, folklore, and religion, the authors focus particular attention on the relations between the coastal peoples who are best known to outsiders, and the hinterlands, where most of the important resources lie. The list of authors includes most of the principal living authorities on Sumatra. Their cumulative experience consists of many years on all parts of the island. The book is copiously illustrated, and includes a comprehensive bibliography for those who wish to pursue further study of the wide range of topics covered.
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