Cover image for America's boy : a century of colonialism in the Philippines
America's boy : a century of colonialism in the Philippines
Hamilton-Paterson, James.
Personal Author:
First American edition.
Publication Information:
New York : H. Holt, 1999.

Physical Description:
xxv, 462 pages : maps ; 25 cm
General Note:
Originally published : [S.l.] : Granta Books, 1998.

"A John Macrae book."
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DS686.6.M35 H35 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



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.

Author Notes

James Hamilton-Paterson is the critically acclaimed author of sixteen books, including the Whitbread Award-winning Gerontius. A writer of both fiction and history, he has lived half of each year in the Philippines for twenty years.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Having lived in the Philippines for 18 years, Hamilton-Paterson has acquired a sophisticated understanding of Philippine history and culture. He witnessed the zenith and then the downfall of the Marcos regime. Yet he has observed a persistent nostalgia for the Marcos years among Filipinos. This book, his explanation of these historical crosscurrents, is exceptional for the grace of its writing and for the range and nuance of the author's judgment. Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos emerge not simply as the caricature despots of the popular press but as products of a culture that for centuries had functioned through strong tribal personalities who wielded power and dispensed favors. Imelda's bravura shopping expeditions and Ferdinand's crony capitalism become more understandable, if not justifiable, in this cultural context. As a novelist (Griefwork, etc.), Hamilton-Paterson has a keen eye for the absurd (such as Ferdinand's compulsive falsification of his war record) and for the cynical (such as U.S. complicity in the fraud). He also makes clear that not just Filipino culture but also U.S. Cold War geopolitics were responsible for the Marcoses' long-lived kleptocracy (which is perhaps the best example of Jean Kirkpatrick's famous distinction between authoritarian regimes, which could be supported if they stood firm against communism, and totalitarian regimes). Every page displays Hamilton-Paterson's mastery of his material, and this book will be required reading for anyone interested in the enduring impact of U.S. policy in the Philippines. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

One hundred years ago, in the wake of the Spanish-American War, the United States started down the imperial path. The military conquest of the Philippines and decades of U.S. control have made U.S.-Philippine relations unique in our history. Hamilton-Paterson (Ghosts of Manila), a British novelist and nonfiction writer and a part-time resident of the Philippines, has written a refreshing albeit impressionistic history of the country. Its value lies in Hamilton-Paterson's willingness to investigate events from the Filipino point of view. Americans are quick to see the negatives of Asia's strongmen but less patient when it comes to understanding the complex relationships between non-democratic leaders and their power bases, between traditional values and customs and the impersonal logic of the market and the ballot box. Now that the United States appears headed for new turbulence with China, it may be useful for us to review our ties to the Philippines. This is an entertaining and informative starting point for the politician and the public alike.ÄJohn Raymond Walser, U.S. Dept. of State, Washington, DC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgementsp. xi
Chronologyp. xv
Mapsp. xvii
Introductionp. xxi
1 Digging a well in Kansulayp. 1
2 A history told by foreignersp. 20
3 Ferdinand Marcos makes a good startp. 57
4 The Second World Warp. 78
5 The haunting of Kansulayp. 110
6 Imelda Romualdez, too, makes a good startp. 135
7 Communists, nationalists, and America's Boyp. 159
8 The Marcoses of Malacanangp. 188
9 Villagers and elitesp. 228
10 Love-nests, leftists and riotsp. 250
11 Martial lawp. 290
12 The politics of fantasyp. 333
13 EDSA and afterp. 374
14 First Couple reduxp. 410
15 Kansulay meets Babylonp. 426
Referencesp. 432
Bibliographyp. 442
Indexp. 447