In this volume Anthony Reid positions Southeast Asia on the stage of world history. He argues that the region not only had a historical character of its own, but that it played a crucial role in shaping the modern world. Southeast Asia's interaction with the forces uniting and transforming the world is explored through chapters focusing on Islamization; Chinese, Siamese, Cham, and Javanese trade; Makasar's modernizing moment; and slavery. The last three chapters examine from different perspectives how this interaction of relative equality shifted to one of an impoverished "third world" region exposed to European colonial power. Anthony Reid is professor of history and director of Southeast Asian studies at UCLA.