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DEAD SEASON: A Story of Murder and Revenge on the Philippine Island of Negros Hardcover – July 9, 1996


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 302 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon; 1st edition (July 9, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679426647
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679426646
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,898,952 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

A series of murders in the late 1980s on the small Philippine island of Negros prompts journalist Alan Berlow to examine the country's recent struggles toward democracy. His investigation plunges him into the morass of local and national politics at the end of the Marcos regime on through the disappointing presidency of Corazon Aquino. As Berlow comes closer to solving the murders, his story conveys the drama and character of a nation as it struggles to find focus in politics and realize its dreams.

From Publishers Weekly

On the small Philippine island of Negros, a series of seemingly unconnected murders in the late '80s provides journalist Berlow with the impetus for this examination of the country's recent struggles toward a dimly conceived ideal of democracy against a history of superstition, violence, corruption and exploitation. The victims include a sugarcane worker, a powerful landowner and a member of the military elite. Berlow's investigation leads him deep into the morass of local and national politics toward the end of the Marcos regime and during the disappointing presidency of Corazon Aquino, whom he criticizes for failing to lead for fear of being overthrown. She did little, he claims, but return the country to its condition before Marcos?an improvement over that repressive regime but a step backward, he believes, on the way to democracy. Berlow humanizes the complex governmental, economic and cultural problems of the country by exemplifying them in characters on many levels of society: the murder victims, their friends and relatives, the militia, landowners, politicos. But ultimately it is not the details of the killings that occupy center stage in this drama but the character of the nation and its people's politics, struggles and dreams.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Cindyfred@aol.com on August 28, 1997
Format: Hardcover
Read on my first trip to the Phillipines, the home of my mother's family, this book often vibrantly elucidated certain previously unfathomable aspects of Filipino culture, such as the national obsession with cock-fighting. The murder mystery that drives the narrative is used effectively, though sometimes melodramatically, to diagnose all that is horribly wrong with the country's political and social-economic systems. In this way, Berlow's text provides an easily digestible short history and cultural analysis of the Philippines in the guise of an entertaining docudrama. At times, however, his tone of condescension and bent for heckling-like anthropologizing comment renders a one-dimensional picture of the lives of a complex, well-educated and incredibly resourceful peoples. When he could interject with notes about the progress realized in the Philippines, or give example of the genuine contentment of the family-oriented, social and generous Filipino, he instead leaves us with a dour and generalized impression of a poor, unenlightened colonial victim passive to a thoroughly corrupt government. Berlow is unabashed in his outsiderness to Filipino ways, and this shortcoming is the book's major flaw
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 7, 1997
Format: Hardcover
A book filled with sometimes shocking detail and personal intimacy, the kind of book about life in the Philippines that so many reproters wished they could leave their daily routines to write. Gripping, impassioned narrative worthy of the passion play that is the Philippines. THE NEW YORK TIMES. A remarkable guide to the tragedies and mysteries that pervade the Philippines. FAR EASTERN ECONOMIC REVIEW. An extraordinary work of reporting and of writing. ALEX CHADWICK, NPR MORNING EDITION. A truly impressive work of investigative Journalism. COMMONWEAL. A vivid portrait of a sad, overpopulated country, divided by class and poverty, still hostage to the legacies of American colonoialism and Ferdinand Marcos, whose patterns of violence and retribution seem unconquerable. KIRKUS REVIEWS. A chilling critique of a system indifferent to ordinary folk. The book makes abundantly clear how deeply rooted political and colonial feudalism are in Philippine society. ASIAWEEK MAGAZINE. Rich in telling detail and revealing a thorough understanding of the local culture. LIBRARY JOURNAL. Berlow's book is a well-told and compelling story of a small town and its people: the hacenderos and the villagers, how they interact and what they are to one another. Berlow finds significance in the smallest details about lives of his real-life characters, things the average person would take for granted, and gives them the importance that every life deserves. As the stories unfold, it becomes clear that the story of Negros is the story of wealth and poverty, of power and helplessness, of the lack of democracy and justice. Sadly, it is also the story of Filipino society. MANILA TIMES
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Images of sugar barons versus land toilers in this book will remain etched in your thought long after you have read this most disturbing murder revenge book,....the book clearly depicts the squalor of those turbulent years
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