‘Meticulously researched and sumptuously illustrated with old maps and paintings, Ian Burnet’s second book, East Indies, tells the fascinating story of the rise of the trading empires of the Portuguese, Dutch and English which led to the colonisation of much of the Asia by European powers. From the early 16th Century traders, adventurers, priests and pirates were lured by the promise of the great riches to be had in commodities such as spices, sandalwood, silks, gold and Christian converts.
Burnet describes the founding of the great trading companies- the Portuguese Casa da India, the Dutch East Company and The English East India Company – which competed over centuries, often violently, for a monopoly over trade. Burnet has uncovered stirring eyewitness accounts which enrich the narrative, and at times he enters the story himself to describe to the reader what we may encounter of this rich history today in such exotic places as Goa, Malacca, Batavia, Penang and Singapore. I found it a ripping historical yarn!’
Toni Pollard, Lecturer in Indonesian (retired), University of Western Sydney
“When you read ‘East Indies’ by Ian Burnet, you can almost smell exotic spices over salt spray and wet wood of the ships that transported the goods back to Europe.
Following on from his previous book, ‘Spice Islands’, in which Ian documents the history of the spice trade in the Maluku and Banda islands of Indonesia where two very important and highly sought spices — cloves and nutmeg — originated, ‘East Indies’ looks at the impact of the European explorers and traders…
Ian has once again researched his topic thoroughly, and ‘East Indies’ is beautifully illustrated, filled with gorgeous maps and pictures evoking the age of sail.”
Melanie Ryan, Limelight Book Reviews
“Ian Burnet has followed his scholarly and eminently readable book ‘Spice Islands’ with his follow up ‘East Indies’. Burnet has been enthralled with the history of the Spice Islands and Indonesia to the point of extensive travel and living in the region.
Where is first book examined the great spread of history of the development of the spice trade and its impact on Europe (not to mention the islands themselves), the second book focuses on the struggles for dominance over 200 years between the great trading and naval powers of the Portuguese, Dutch and the English.
The book provides a wonderful snapshot of European activities in the East Indies including the establishment of Singapore and Hong Kong as significant trading ports. This book will appeal to readers who want to take further their understanding of the development of the region”.
Paul Talbot — AFLOAT Magazine, December 2013
Now also available as an e-book, more information about books by Ian Burnet can be found on the author website