Southeast Asia's Charismatic Statesmen"" are the subjects of these short, informal, irreverent, and completely fascinating biographies. The first and by far the longest piece is devoted to Sukarno, the amazing President of Indonesia. From there, we move on to the leaders of the Philippines, Thailand; Cambodia, Burma, Malaysia and South Vietnam. Along the way we are also introduced to each man's principal friends and enemies and it becomes almost easy to tell them apart, in spite of their bewildering names and their usually inscrutable activities. ""These sometimes foundering fathers,"" as the author points out, ""face an omnipresent world audience whose demands are fantastically exacting."" He compares their situation to an incredibly complicated chess game and the book makes some sense out of our current Southeast Asian involvements.