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.
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