Examining the lives and legacies of national heroes is always a fraught endeavour. The iconic status of these figures combined with the deep-seated meanings and associations embedded in them automatically raises emotions and creates an almost transgressive scholarly project. Such examinations require tact and courage. Paul Bijl and Grace V. S. Chin’s recent edited volume, Appropriating Kartini: Colonial, National and Transnational Memories of an Indonesian Icon, provides a wonderful example of just how such projects should be carried out. The editors bring together an artful collection of eight concise essays exploring the multifaceted life and legacy of Raden Adjeng Kartini, the Indonesian aristocrat, educator, and women’s rights activist.