Thursday, November 17, 2011

Books on the History of the Philippines

This is a selection of books on the history of the Philippines:

Swish of the Kris: The Story of the Moros by Vic Hurley.  Facsimile reissue of the significant 1936 account of the Moros - the traditionally fierce Islamic warriors of Mindanao and the southern Philippines. The author, a scholarly rubber planter, lived in the area for seven years and writes sympathetically of Moro history since their arrival as a largely nomadic people probably in the first century BCE. The Moros, with their kris, kept at bay successive invaders - Portuguese, British, Chinese, Japanese, and Dutch, as well as the governing Spanish and Americans. Details are given of the 1915 agreement with the US authority which proved to be a non-durable basis for stability and peace in the area. With historical notes and glossary.

Conquest and Pestilence in the Early Spanish Philippines by Linda Newson. This volume illuminates the demographic history of the Spanish Philippines in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and in the process, challenges the long-held assumption that the Spanish colonial rule had only a limited demographic impact on the Philippines. Newson asserts that the Filipino suffered a significant decline in the early colonial period, and argues that the sparse population of the islands meant that Old World diseases could not become endemic in pre-Spanish times. She also shows that the initial conquest of the Philippines was far bloodier than has often been supposed and that subsequent Spanish demands for tribute, labour, and land brought socio-economic transformations and depopulation that were prolonged beyond the early conquest years. With notes, bibliography and index.

Between Tiger and Dragon: A History of Philippine Relations with China And Taiwan by Claude Haberer. This is an updated translation from the original French is a study of Philippine-Taiwan-China relations from 1946-2000. A background chapter shows how Chinese trading-based communities were established in the Philippines in the pre-1946 Colonial period. The 1946-65 period is seen as a time when in the shadow of the US-Philippine relations with Taiwan and some local unrest with Communist and quasi-Communist elements, relations with China were limited. Chapter 3 deals with 1965-75, when official relations between the People's Republic of China (PRC) and the Philippines were established and only informal relations remained with Taiwan, and the status of local Chinese became uncertain. Many changes are seen to have taken place in the 1975-86 period and the author details the ongoing disputes over the Spratley Islands, which are being approached by both the PRC and Philippines in a piecemeal fashion. With bibliography, appended documents and index.

The Forest: A Personal Record of the Huk Guerrilla Struggle in the Philippines by William J. Pomeroy. While writing a book on the Hukbalahap, a wartime anti-Japanese resistance movement in the Philippines, William "Bill" Pomeroy met and fell in love with Celia Mariano, one of its most active women members. The Forest tells the story of the two years - 1950-1952 - Bill and Celia spent in the mountains with the Huks. But more than a vivid account of the physical hardship of guerrilla life, the book is a moving story of their love and their courage in the fight for freedom. Considered a classic with various English editions and translations into several languages, The Forest ends with Bill and Celia's capture. In its sequel, Bilanggo: Life as a Political Prisoner in the Philippines, 1952-1962, Pomeroy writes with the same passion and heart, whether about his commitment to the liberation struggle or about his love for his wife and comrade.

Child of War: A Memoir of World War II Internment in the Philippines by Curtis Whitfield Tong. Hours after attacking Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Japanese bombers stormed across the Philippine city of Baguio, where seven-year-old Curt Tong, the son of American missionaries, hid with his classmates in the woods near his school. Three weeks later, Curt, his mother, and two sisters were among the nearly five hundred Americans who surrendered to the Japanese army in Baguio. Child of War is Tong's touching story of the next three years of his childhood as he endured fear, starvation, sickness, and separation from his father while interned in three different Japanese prison camps on the island of Luzon. Written by the adult Tong looking back on his wartime ordeal, it offers a rich trove of memories about internment life and camp experiences. Child of War is an engaging and thoughtful memoir that presents an unusual view of life as a World War II internee-that of a young boy. It is a valuable addition to existing wartime autobiographies and diaries and contributes significantly to a greater understanding of the Pacific War and its impact on American civilians in Asia. With bibliography.

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