Home Tags Book Review
Tag: Book Review
AT 6 a.m. on June 20, 2000, police and federal agents in riot gear swarmed into shoe designer Steve Madden’s apartment on Mercer Street in New York with a warrant for his arrest.
I FIRST read Some are Smarter than Others, a book detailing the excesses of the Marcos Regime, as a freshman in an “elite” private university. It was out of print then, and the only copies to be had were in university libraries, at a few hundred dollars on Amazon, or a very battered copy at the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ gift shop. Now with an annotated reissue, it will serve me now, as it did then, as an anti-Social Register. The last names in that book either directly assisted or collaborated with the plunder of the country, and were now sitting next to me in class. These are the last names I had to avoid. In the same classroom, there would be girls from indigent families who just so happened to be smart enough to be granted scholarships, while another set were there because, well, their parents and grandparents were “smarter than others.”
LAST MARCH, the Philippine Map Collector’s Society (PHIMCOS) invited the distinguished journalist and editor Philip Bowring to give a talk to our group in Manila and launch his new book Empire of the Winds. Bowring is a professional journalist and former editor of the Far Eastern Economic Review and has been based in Asia for over 45 years. His book is not specifically about maps but he is an expert on historical maritime trade routes, seasonal winds, currents and the ancient sailing ships which navigated between the thousands of islands which make up Southeast Asia’s southern archipelago. These ships were built locally and were capable of sailing west as far as India and East Africa and north to Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan and China. The history of navigation and trade routes is of great interest to map collectors as it goes hand-in-hand with the early development of Asian maps, navigational guides and sea charts.
WHAT IF the music industry could be used as a guide to important principles in business and the economy? It would sure make introductory economics courses more fun. The idea is not as fanciful as it might sound: As Alan Krueger shows in Rockonomics, music is a microcosm of the wider business world and provides all sorts of insights into today’s economy.
JAMES SCOTT’s well researched, moving and emotionally written book Rampage does a unique service for the Filipino people. Perhaps for the first time it allows them to remember and honor those who died from the horrors of the War and, specifically the battle of Manila, in a mature and nuanced way. It allows them to share this experience with the rest of the world, an experience most outsiders have had little understanding of and which Scott’s book goes a long way to finally explain. Unlike other peoples, places, cities around the world who have been able to share and memorialize the “rampages” that came down upon them during World War II, the same can not be said of the people of Manila.
ITS unabashedly spiritual underpinnings distinguish this latest addition to the growing library of writing on Marcos’ Martial Law. The witnessing by various actors who traversed this howling wilderness in our recent history is anchored in their abiding Christian faith in God as the Lord of History, or, as the editor Melba Padilla Magay writes, “an immanent grace that is present wherever there is a struggle against forces that demean and deform human life.”
IN THE bleak winter of 1989, as a graduate student living in a windswept campus on the edge of the Scottish highlands, I found in a tiny bookstore a copy of James Hamilton-Paterson’s Playing With Water, which at that time had the subtitle Alone On a Philippine Island. Just another one of those vacation travel books, I thought. But at least it’s about home. I started reading it that evening, and finished the book in the gray light of dawn, close to tears -- and grateful at having been gifted with such a wonderful and unsettling read.
By Jonathan Best Book Review Ifugao: People of the Earth Written and edited by Prof. Delfin Tolentino, Jr., Leah Enkiwe-Abayao, Analyn Salvador-Amores, and Marlon Martin Published by ArtPostAsia...