America's Boy: A Century of United States Colonialism in the Philippines

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9780805061185: America's Boy: A Century of United States Colonialism in the Philippines

A narrative history of the U.S.-supported dictatorship that came to define the Philippines.

Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos presented themselves as the reincarnation of a primal couple from Filipino mythology. Ferdinand reinvented himself as a matchless fighter against the Japanese, and Time magazine hailed him as a hero. He was the strongman, the dictator, welcomed at the White House by Lyndon B. Johnson, Nixon, Reagan, and the C.I.A..-America's Boy. For twenty-one years he and Imelda dominated the Philippines. In the , a "democratic revolution" replaced them with Corazon Aquino, who, in turn, was followed by Fidel Ramos, Imelda's cousin. Nothing changed: the world applauded, the shadow play went on.

James Hamilton-Paterson has gathered astonishing information from senators, cronies, rivals, and Marcos family members, including Imelda. Covering the entire one-hundred-year history of U. S. involvement in the Philippines, he offers a devastating vision of the price Filipinos paid for dictatorship. Perhaps no other couple is as emblematic of American Imperialism as the Marcoses; America's Boy is their story. Passionate, deeply researched, and haunting, it is "a riveting read" (The Guardian [London]) by one of the language's best stylists.

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Review:

James Hamilton-Paterson shares a dirty little secret with the world: "Many ordinary Filipinos missed the Marcoses (although few would admit it to foreigners)." He is referring, of course, to the Philippines' "famously exotic ruling couple" of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos. For years, says Hamilton-Paterson, the Philippines were simply ignored in the West, and when the island nation wasn't ignored it was poorly understood. As the only officially Christian state in Asia, it never seemed a part of Asian politics. Following the 1983 assassination of Benigno Aquino, however, the world started to pay attention to the Philippines. What followed was "a Manichean casting of the Marcoses as an evil needing to be purged from the country by the forces of good, as represented by Aquino's widow Cory and her Church-backed followers." Most journalists bought into this "simplistic polarization," and the result was a distorted view of the Philippines. In this surprisingly absorbing book, the author aims to provide a more nuanced portrait of the country he has lived in for much of the last 20 years. He is no apologist for Marcos, but he has a deep sympathy for ordinary Filipinos. The result is a fascinating mix of personalities and politics in a land few Westerners even begin to understand. --John J. Miller

About the Author:

James Hamilton-Paterson is the critically acclaimed author of sixteen books, including the Whitbread Award-winning Gerontius. Writer of both fiction and history, he has lived half of each year in the Philippines for almost twenty years. The author has been profiled in Vanity Fair and other magazines.

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