In October 2002 Sadanand Dhume found himself in a place most foreigners were trying to flee Bali. Powerful explosions the previous night had ripped through two tourist nightclubs killing more than two hundred people. That evening he visited what remained of the Sari Club and stood among piles of ash and blackened beer bottles wondering about the future of a country long regarded as immune to such carnage.
My friend the Fanatic is a portrait of Indonesia the world’s most populous Muslim country painted through the travels of a pair of unlikely protagonists, Dhume is a foreign correspondent a Princeton educated Indian atheist with a fondness for john unlike and an interest in economic development. His companion Herry Nurdi is a young Inlamist who hero worships Osama bin Laden.
Does Herry represent the future for Indonesia? By turns disturbing and funny my friend the fanatic fulfills a deep hunger for knowledge about a fascinating land in a time of profound change.
Sadanand Dhume is a Washington DC based writer and journalist his articles have been published in the wall street journal the Washington post foreign policy and commentary. He has appeared on CNN, PBSM NPR, BBC, world and AL Jazeera Dhume holds graduate degrees from Princeton and Columbia and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Delhi. My friend the Fanatic is his first book.
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