Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Though Karnow claims that U.S. imperialism in its former colony, the Philippines, has been ``uniquely benign'' compared to European colonialism, the evidence set forth in this colorful, briskly readable history undercuts that prognosis. He shows that a succession of U.S. presidents and administrators coddled the archipelago's 60 or so ruling families, perpetuating the feudal oligarchy that continues to this day, and widening the gap between rich and poor. Karnow, whose Vietnam: A History is a standard account of the American venture in Southeast Asia, draws intriguing parallels: the U.S.-Philippine war of 1898, much like the Vietnam experience, dehumanized U.S. troops, who looted and annihilated villages; ex-President Marcos, like South Vietnamese ruler Diem, presented Washington with the problem of how to deal with a client state that squandered its credibility. In Karnow's assessment, the ``new prosperity'' under Corazon Aquino has not touched the Filipino countryside or slums. Photos. Author tour. (Apr.)
Philippine history is often described as 300 years in a (Spanish) convent and 50 years in Hollywood. Karnow, who worked for 30 years as a journalist in Asia, narrates the careers of several individuals who influenced the Philippines. His treatment of the indecisiveness of President McKinley over the issue of empire and of the egotistical General MacArthur make the work a definite purchase for libraries. Weaker in treatment is the post-independence period, where Karnow concentrates upon Marcos and Aquino, both of whom he knows. Particularly revealing is his account of the White House coming to terms with the Aquino election victory. Those who love swashbuckling history will enjoy this work.-- Donald Clay Johnson, Univ. of Minnesota Libs., Minneapolis
From the Publisher
"Stanley Karnow Has Written The Ultimate Book brilliant, panoramic, engrossing about American behavior overseas in the twentieth century."
The Boston Sunday Globe
"A Page-Turning Story and Authoritative History."
The New York Times
"Perhaps The Best Journalist Writing On Asian Affairs."