Sukarno was one of the more spectacular of the anti-colonial leaders who struggled against European imperialism in Asia and Africa in the first half of the twentieth century. In the 1920s, as the leader of the Indonesian Nationalist Party, he, more than any other leader, created a vision of a united Indonesian nation embracing all of the diverse people of the archipelago. With indpendence he was the unquestioned choice for the position of President. Nevertheless he was, in many ways, a controversial President. Discredited in the mid 1960s, he was edged gradually from office between 1965 and 1968, he was honoured fairly perfunctorily at the time of his death in 1970, and was then largely forgotten or ignored in the years that followed.
With the emergence of his daughter, Megawati Sukarnoputri, on the political stage, and, with her accession to the Presidency in 2001, interest in her mercurial father has been revived in Indonesia and it is appropriate to look again at his career and his political legacy. It is a question whether the passage of time, and the events of the past 35 years, will affect the way in which he is preceived.
John D. Legge's biography of Sukarno was originally published in 1972, shortly after Sukarno's death. This new edition, which takes account of some of the findings of more recent scholarship, seeks to address the question of Indonesia's present-day perception of its first President.