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On October 1, 1965, a group of Indonesian soldiers calling themselves the September 30th movement kidnapped and killed several high-ranking officers, claiming that they were preventing a plot against the president. But the movement itself was swiftly defeated, and another army general, Haji Suharto, took the opportunity to accuse the Communist Party of trying to overthrow the government. Seizing power for himself, he would rule Indonesia for more than three decades. The alleged Communist plot was a key element in Suharto's national mythology, but as Roosa explains, the haphazardness of the September 30th movement's actions has always provoked questions about its real motivations. His research, including a previously ignored account of the plot's shortcomings by one of its advisers, suggests that the truth lies close to the easiest explanation. The September 30th movement was not a coup, Roosa asserts, but an attempt to purge the Indonesian government of anti-Communist influences that failed because it was a tangled, incoherent mess. Roosa's historical reconstruction is painstakingly detailed, yet laid out in a clear narrative. While some questions remain unanswered, his scenario provides a rational explanation for much of the chaos the political upheaval engendered.