THE LAND AND PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES by John Nance

THE LAND AND PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Not an updating but a new book by a new author, this latest entry in the Land and Peoples series deals, however, largely with the Philippines' history (the aspect best covered, unfortunately, by preexisting books). Two introductory chapters rough in the unique character of the seven-thousand-island archipelago, its economy and culture; but even they are prone to glibness (""Malay, Madrid and Madison Avenue""), empty palaver (""The strong emotional quality of Filipino life is reflected by artistic romanticism""), and roll-calls of distinguished names. The few poor lllustrations--a general weakness--picture none of the arts or crafts mentioned; more closely attended to are the look and feel of Manila life and the conflicts of teenagers generally. But the book hits its stride with the earliest habitation. Related in some detail are pre-Hispanic patterns of development; the disputed reasons for Sapin's colonial success (especially the role of the Catholic Church); the nature--a balanced assessment--of Filipino revolt and US intercession. Then and later, Nance makes it plain, ""some American leaders gave their own country's commercial interests a higher priority than Filipino independence."" However, he avoids both undue concentration on relations between the two countries (internal political developments are also followed closely) and excessive mea culpas: we erred at least as much as we sinned. A want of selectivity, of emphasis and subordination, makes the narrative so featureless as to be rather dull; but the information is there, right through the recent period of martial law and its ostensible relaxation. On Marcos' rule, Nance hedges somewhat, finding ""significant improvements. . . at the cost of certain freedoms."" Nonetheless, it's a judicious account overall, and either fuller or more current than any of its competitors.

Pub Date: April 15th, 1977
Publisher: Lippincott