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America’s Empire in the Philippines

Published November 24th by Ballantine Books first published March Pulitzer Prize for History To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about In Our Image , please sign up. Lists with This Book. Oct 16, Rosalinda Morgan added it Shelves: If you like Philippine History, this is one of the best books written about the Philippines. It is well researched. Born and raised in the Philippines, I thought I knew a lot of Philippines history. There were some new information in the book that I did not know - most of the history about the Spanish-American War and the role Teddy Roosevelt played.

That was never emphasized in school when I was young. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book. It gives me a new perspective on how the nation was formed. View all 5 comments. Aug 02, Ian Kemp added it. To a Westerner, the Philippines is a mass of contradictions.

A country in which the most vocal calls for representative democracy can come from an unelected, unaccountable male leader of the catholic church; a society in which national identity and patriotic culture are expressed through foreign rituals from TV game shows to the school flag-salute; where the elements most identifiable as Filipino are remnants of imperial conquest — from Spanish patronymics to the ubiquitous catholic faith and to To a Westerner, the Philippines is a mass of contradictions. A country in which the most vocal calls for representative democracy can come from an unelected, unaccountable male leader of the catholic church; a society in which national identity and patriotic culture are expressed through foreign rituals from TV game shows to the school flag-salute; where the elements most identifiable as Filipino are remnants of imperial conquest — from Spanish patronymics to the ubiquitous catholic faith and to the Filipino language itself.

This impressive work by Karnow presents the history of the Philippines as the history of underdevelopment. He repeatedly returns to the conclusion that the Philippine economic model is basically feudal, with absolute power wielded by a land-owning class consisting of wealthy dynasties.

In Our Image: America's Empire in the Philippines - Stanley Karnow - Google Книги

The social structure at the time of Spanish conquest in many ways resembled Anglo-Saxon Britain. Rather than challenge this ancient society, years of Spanish rule, 50 years of US rule and 50 years of US rule-by-proxy reinforced the plutocracy. The concept of a unified nation governed by a democratic process is an illusion the imperial masters where happy to promote for their own purposes. Karnow shows how the US relationship has largely made the Philippines what it is today. He shows with great insight and masses of evidential detail how the relationship moved from an initial benign mission to liberate and improve the lives of the Filipinos, eventually to a cynical desire to protect US interests, primarily to maintain the air and naval bases from which the Americans rained death and disaster on Vietnam — the common point being the primacy of US domestic politics.

The Filipino body politic seeks Messianic leaders and almost wants to be deluded. And when denied, enthusiastically promote her children as suitable members of congress? In what other society can an ex-president Erap do jail time for plunder, then return to our TV screens as a sought-after celebrity, and, yes, be touted as a future presendtial candidate? In summary the book is impressive in its wealth of detail and its extensive use of highly authoritative sources. If you are interested in the Philippines, get a copy. Sep 11, Nick Klagge rated it really liked it.

Very good, and I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in the Philippines--particularly Americans who, like me, haven't had much exposure to the history of the country. Although this book does focus on the relationship between the Philippines and America, it's a pretty comprehensive history of the country, from the arrival of Magellan through Cory Aquino.

Karnow is a good storyteller and, I think, a fairly objective historian. I was kind of hoping to find in this book some Filipino heroe Very good, and I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in the Philippines--particularly Americans who, like me, haven't had much exposure to the history of the country.

I was kind of hoping to find in this book some Filipino heroes to look up to, and while there are certainly some good people, no one is put on a pedestal, even Karnow's personal friend Ninoy Aquino. Dec 18, Tara rated it really liked it. This was a really readable, interesting account of the history of the Philippines, from Spanish colonization up to Cory Aquino's presidency. Definitely recommend it to anyone traveling to the country. It gave me a better understanding of Filipino society and culture while I was there.

The author has spent decades covering the country as a journalist, and includes really interesting insight and anecdotes from his time there. Despite Americans' continual debates about the nature of their modern "empire," or about their supposedly imperialistic foreign policy, there is one extremely relevant case of American empire that almost no one discusses, the Philippines. And yet, as Stanley Karnow shows in this engaging history, the Philippines represents the one place where Americans engaged in a classic colonial adventure, where we tried to govern tens of millions of foreign people for decades from to Yet America Despite Americans' continual debates about the nature of their modern "empire," or about their supposedly imperialistic foreign policy, there is one extremely relevant case of American empire that almost no one discusses, the Philippines.

Yet America seems to have forgotten the experiment. The Philippine conquest started by chance. In a bid to save the Cubans from Spanish perfidy, America attacked the Spanish empire across the globe. Admiral Dewey smashed the Spanish fleet off the Philippines, and U. After winning the battle, however, it turned out the Americans were in possession of a massive piece of that Spanish empire.

While we had promised to give Cubans their freedom, we had said nothing about this distant archipelago, which President WIlliam McKinley, when he appointed his first ambassador there, couldn't find on a map. McKinley, however, claimed that God had told him in a dream to take possession of the islands, and the treaty confirming this dream only passed the Senate by the tie-breaking vote of the Vice President. Although the United States brutally put down an insurgency led by the wealthy native leader Emilio Aguinaldo, overall, the U.

From the beginning, the U. S allowed the Philippines to form political parties advocating independence, to vote in local and parliamentary elections, and to print their own newspapers.


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Unlike European countries who refused to teach most natives the colonizers' language, America began an unprecedented effort to cover the island with English language primary schools. Fond memories of U. Twice, when the U. Congress willingly voted for Philippine independence admittedly at the instigation of US sugar and tobacco barons who feared Philippine competition in and , Philippine legislators, including the nominal hero of independence Manuel Quezon, secretly asked that the U. Only after General Douglas MacArthur whose father Arthur MacArthur had actually led the struggle against Philippine insurgents liberated the islands from a brutal Japanese dictatorship earning him near godlike status there did the U.

So despite America's obvious mistakes, the nation has much to be proud of in its time in the Philippines. It brought genuine advancement, and gave the nation up willingly to a democratic alternative. This explains why today Filipinos still admire the U.

The book lags when it deals with the long pre-American Spanish empire, and when it goes into the innumerable twists and turns of Philippine politics post, but on the whole it offers a vivid reminder of one of the U. Mar 16, Brian rated it it was amazing. I grew up in the Philippines, but I feel like I learned more about Philippine history reading this book than I picked up in 12 years in the country.

That said, it is definitely not just a book for people interested in Philippine history.

In Our Image

While using the Philippines as its focus, the book walks the reader through turn of the 20th century US foreign politics, which could perhaps best be described as fumbling towards a semi-benevolent American empire. The lives and careers of Taft, Teddy Roosevelt, I grew up in the Philippines, but I feel like I learned more about Philippine history reading this book than I picked up in 12 years in the country.

The lives and careers of Taft, Teddy Roosevelt, and other important US figures are examined, often in a less than flattering light. It's long, but I'll probably read it again. Aug 05, Jed rated it really liked it.

The beautiful archipelago of 7, islands and home to a bunch of crazy islanders including my mother. Salamat po, for such an illuminating book about the engrossing history of the Philippine islands. The book is a panoramic study and includes, history of the year colonization from Spain, the blundering attempt by America to purchase and make the P. Okay, the last bit I added, but my copy has one. Sep 02, L rated it did not like it Shelves: Revisionist history that makes widely reactionary conclusions without much backing, such as the assertion that Filipinos "submitted voluntarily to their own exploitation" and the imperialist beliefs that the Philippines would not have formed its own infrastructure had it not been for American intervention.

View all 4 comments.

In Our Image: America's Empire in the Philippines

Feb 27, Alex Zakharov rated it liked it. In preparation for a trip to the Philippines, I picked Karnow up as ostensibly the least biased and best-written historical account of the country. He primarily concentrates on the 20th century, understandable given the dearth of material otherwise. Overall a pretty decent read, and perhaps an indispensable one if one is thinking of visiting the region.

Also, a nice coverage of American foreign policy dilemmas and debates at the turn of 19th century. Outline and notes to self: Pre-colonial histor In preparation for a trip to the Philippines, I picked Karnow up as ostensibly the least biased and best-written historical account of the country. Chinese trading posts across most of SE Asia, including Ph. Arab traders bring Islam to Malaya, reaching Ph. Brutal trip, makes it to Cebu in , converts one tribal chief Humabon , but gets killed by another Lapu Lapu.

Spanish Colonization - After Magellan 50 years of indecision by Spain, but Mexican Spaniards eventually convince the queen to colonize Ph. Chinese and Spanish influence. Intellectual, educated in Europe, reformer, not a revolutionary. Dewey in Pacific, McKinley as president is indecisive, gets pushed into war by Teddy Roosevelt who has just rebuild the navy. Spanish-US tango over Philippines , independence war. A bit of a clusterfuck. US probably should have lost, but Aquinaldo made too many mistakes, even assassinated his own general, famous Antonio Luna.

Aguinaldo captured in , officially ending the war, but insurgency continues for another decade, including Moro war with Muslims in the south.


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  7. Still — first parliament in Asia. Resolution for 10yr path to full independence. The latter despises McArthur. Wainwright takes most of the hard fighting, McArthur gets the glory. Bataan Death March — horrific. Huks commies most successful, historically significant for next 30 years. Manila worst-hit Allied city after Warsaw. After the war - Fate of collaborators. Theme throughout the book of how throughout history illustrados shift loyalties among Spaniards, nationalists, Americans, Japanese.

    Huks outmaneuvered politically in parliament, leads to Huks uprising Cleans up crime, thus gaining support of some F. Briefly dated Imelda at some point. Marcos and Ninoy family clans had plenty of overlapping business connections and interests. Marcos concerned with image in US. Stays in US One plausible theory is that Imelda and general Ver were plotting a coup, and Ver had N assassinated.

    Today, Ninoy, like Rizal, has as a borderline saint-martyr status. Ph economy in the gutter, increased commie political presence. Quietly helps Cory prepare to campaign. Feb 15, David rated it really liked it Shelves: I blogged about this excellent book here. I learned that my eighth-grade English teacher was right: When this book was published, some readers probably went directly to the final chapters — a detailed narrative of recently-passed events before, during, and after the downfall of the Ferdinand Marcos regime — because they seemed the most important part of the book.

    Now, twenty years later, this narrative has lost I blogged about this excellent book here. At the same time, the first half of the book, formerly prologue, has now taken on a possible new significance as a distant mirror of the current troubles of the USA's occupying armies in the Middle East. I think this parallel also struck American author and filmmaker John Sayles , which is why he recently produced both a book and a movie about this darkly ambiguous episode in America's history.

    You can tell in this book that Karnow has Vietnam on the brain. The consistent references might be a little mystifying to someone who wasn't aware of the extent that the Vietnam War transfixed public attention and became the defining event in the lives of many who were there. Still, that's a small quibble in a book as good as this one. Jan 10, Carina Salazar Foley rated it really liked it. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers.

    To view it, click here. This book covers a large span of Philippine history from Magellan to Macros. It's a history book that flows well and reads as a story. The focus is the US involvement in the islands. As the Philippines votes today between an array of controversial candidates, Karnow's comment "To this day, [Filipinos] are trying to define their national identity," remains as relevant as ever. I hope to one day read a book covering a similar timeframe during Philippine history but from the perspective of a Filipi This book covers a large span of Philippine history from Magellan to Macros.

    I hope to one day read a book covering a similar timeframe during Philippine history but from the perspective of a Filipino. Jan 01, Joe Perez rated it it was amazing Shelves: Great book for Filipinos, Americans of Filipino descent, and for anyone who wants to learn more about America's role as a colonial power Stanley Karnow's book is an excellent read. I really enjoyed it a lot.

    Jan 02, Ryan Mcconville rated it really liked it. I read this before a trip to the Philippines and it really helped me understand the historical context of the country. It is a pretty dense read - so not likely great for someone who wants a quick, breezy intro. White and Jean Schneider. Between War and Peace: The Potsdam Conference by Herbert Feis The Greenback Era by Irwin Unger Origins of the Fifth Amendment by Leonard W.

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