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In Our Image: America's Empire in the Philippines Paperback – March 3, 1990

ISBN-13: 978-0345328168 ISBN-10: 0345328167 Edition: Reissue

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 536 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reissue edition (March 3, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345328167
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345328168
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.1 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #151,124 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Though Karnow claims that U.S. imperialism in its former colony, the Philippines, has been "uniquely benign" compared to European colonialism, the evidence set forth in this colorful, briskly readable history undercuts that prognosis. He shows that a succession of U.S. presidents and administrators coddled the archipelago's 60 or so ruling families, perpetuating the feudal oligarchy that continues to this day, and widening the gap between rich and poor. Karnow, whose Vietnam: A History is a standard account of the American venture in Southeast Asia, draws intriguing parallels: the U.S.-Philippine war of 1898, much like the Vietnam experience, dehumanized U.S. troops, who looted and annihilated villages; ex-President Marcos, like South Vietnamese ruler Diem, presented Washington with the problem of how to deal with a client state that squandered its credibility. In Karnow's assessment, the "new prosperity" under Corazon Aquino has not touched the Filipino countryside or slums. Photos. Author tour.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Philippine history is often described as 300 years in a (Spanish) convent and 50 years in Hollywood. Karnow, who worked for 30 years as a journalist in Asia, narrates the careers of several individuals who influenced the Philippines. His treatment of the indecisiveness of President McKinley over the issue of empire and of the egotistical General MacArthur make the work a definite purchase for libraries. Weaker in treatment is the post-independence period, where Karnow concentrates upon Marcos and Aquino, both of whom he knows. Particularly revealing is his account of the White House coming to terms with the Aquino election victory. Those who love swashbuckling history will enjoy this work.
- Donald Clay Johnson, Univ. of Minnesota Libs., Minneapolis
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

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Highly recommend this book to those who have any interests of the Philippines.
Donald J. Wong
It is a very complete political history of U.S. involvement in the Phillippines and how American influence has shaped that country.
Brian D. Rubendall
The author was a writer for Time magazine, and this book was written very well.
Ignatious Valve

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 39 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 18, 1999
Format: Paperback
History writing rarely is this good... even Stanley Karnow's more famous book on Vietnam pales in comparison. The best part of this book is that it doesn't read like a dry history, but like a very rich and interesting novel. No wonder Stanley Karnow won the Pulitzer prize for writing this book.
The reality is this book details the wonderful, rich, benevolent, and sometimes tragic relationship that the US had with its one and only true foreign colony. And as someone who has traveled extensively and lived in the Philippines, this book is spot on.
As an American, I can only shake my head at President Clinton's sheer ignorance for not visiting the PI during the national celebrations of their Centennary of Independence from Spain in 1998, an independence that the US helped them get... and then took away for another 50 years.
Read this book, especially if you are American, and learn something important about America's involvement in Asia... some may argue even more important that America's involvement in Vietnam. To this day, the Philippines is the world's third largest english speaking nation behind the US and UK....
A monumental piece of history.
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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By T. Graczewski VINE VOICE on January 2, 2004
Format: Paperback
From the valiant death of Ferdinand Magellan in the azure surf of Mactan in 1521 to the fall of Ferdinand Marcos at the hands of Cory Aquino and a disillusioned Reagan administration in 1986, Stanley Karnow, the venerable Asian correspondent for the Washington Post, traces the arc of the Philippines' long, tumultuous relationship with the West. Briskly-paced and engaging, "In Our Image" won the 1990 Pulitzer-prize for history and presents a balanced, yet sobering perspective on America's only traditional colonial experience.
Those looking for anti-American or anti-imperialist fodder will be sorely disappointed by Karnow's generally positive assessment of US policies in the archipelago. He praises the massive investment made in developing and improving the indigenous education system and industrial infrastructure, and frequently notes that American policies were far less exploitative and more politically liberal than any other colonial administration in history. Indeed, he argues that the Washington's voluntary grant of independence to the Philippines was nothing short of revolutionary at the time, and that the islands were actually more subject to American domination after independence in 1946 than before.
On the other hand, those seeking inspiration in how American democracy and industry can be successfully exported to different cultures will be equally disappointed with this case study. Most politicians today, liberal and conservative alike, bristle at the notion that some people or cultures are simply incapable of American-style democracy, and the freedom and justice that comes with it.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 24, 1997
Format: Paperback
The main complaint I have about this work is that it was for too long out of print or hard to find (a failing now apparently remedied). That's good, because Karnow has produced one of the definitive works on Philippine-US relations -- and one that I will use for classes I teach on the subject. While Karnow has been called a "nostalgic colonialist" for his sometimes slightly "White Man's Burden" view of Philippine history as, roughly, "better under the Americans than the Spanish," his criticism of turn-of-the-century American jingoism and broken promises to the Philippines redeems him in my eyes. All in all, a thorough, well-told tale of a too-invisible chapter in American history.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Burt Weyhing on July 11, 2001
Format: Paperback
Karnow has painstakingly crafted a rich, densly fact filled historical biography centering on America's forgotten involvment with it's only true colony, obtained through dubious pretenses from Spain in 1898. The book follows foreign involvement in the Philippines from Ferdinand Magellan's landing in 1521 to the end of the Regan era. Karnow's narrative provides expert and eye-opening insight into the inside workings of the Spanish and American colonial powers and their abusive, beneficial and at times comical consequences on the long-suffering Philippine people. An original book about a unique country with an even more unique history. An excellent read.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Nancy K. Oconnor on December 6, 1998
Format: Paperback
The average American knows little about the Philippines except for occasional news stories about tradgedies, and most Americans have visited this lovely country only as members of the armed services. However, Philippino history is more complicated and diverse than one would think from such contact. Stanley Karnow's book is a good introduction to the history and politics of this fascinating country, and his insight into the way the culture works, including the importance of family connections, is a good introduction to anyone who intends to visit this country and to understand it's ways and its people
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Nancy K. Oconnor on December 1, 2001
Format: Paperback
Most books on the Philippines are about American experiences there, mainly in World War II.
This is a well written, easily read history of that fascinating country.
It not only gives the history, but informs on the culture of the Philippines, and explains history that otherwise might be invisible or hard to understand. (For example, how Chinese immigrants influenced the richest families, the love/hate relationship of Filippinos with the USA, the reason why some Filippino politicians sided with Japan, etc.).
If you have to read just one book on this fascinating country, this is the one to read.
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