About the book (from dust jacket):
John Crawfurd was among that small group of British scholars and officials who, in the first half of the 19th century produced some of the earliest reliable works on the region now known as South-East Asia.
The Descriptive Dictionary grew out of Crawfurd’s earlier History of the Indian Archipelago and it is still of great value well over a century after its publication. It is a mine of statistical and descriptive information, made readily available in accessible form, and although the part of the world it covers – what is now called Indonesia – has changed greatly, the volume is of interest not only as an illustration of how much has changed, but perhaps also of how much still remains the same.
About John Crawfurd (from Wikipedia):
John Crawfurd FRS (13 August 1783 – 11 May 1868) was a Scottish physician, colonial administrator and diplomat, and author. He is now best known for his work on Asian languages, his History of the Indian Archipelago, and his role in founding Singapore as the last British Resident of Singapore; the position of Resident was replaced by the Governor of the Straits Settlements.