WORTH DYING FOR by Lewis M. Simons


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Simons, who won the 1986 Pulitzer Prize for his articles on Ferdinand Marcos' draining of his country's treasury, has written a riveting anatomy of the Philippine revolution. Simons begins with a minute-by-minute account of the 1983 assassination of opposition leader Benigno Aquino (apparently as ruthless a political opponent as Marcos was a ruler), and traces the startling events of the two and a half years that led from that moment to the ouster of Marcos and the victory of Corazon Aquino and her political moderates. The story, the author points out, is Shakespearean in scope. Here is the queen (Imelda Marcos) and her advisor (General Ver) scheming to murder Benigno, and the aging King (Marcos) grasping at power that has already fled him; there's even a ""meddlesome priest"" in the person of pro-Aquino Cardinal Sin. The portraits--especially of a tough-minded Corazon Aquino, and Defense Minister Enrile (who ingeniously turned a failed coup d'État into a successful revolution, only to be forced by public opinion to hand power over to Mrs. Aquino)--are revelatory, as are the stunning back-stabbings and intricate power plays within Manila, and the shockingly dismal performance of the Reagan Administration. All of it ended, virtually without violence, in Philippine democracy. As one man, standing on palace grounds shortly after Marcos fled, put it: ""I'm so proud. I'm so ashamed."" Through interviews and eyewitness accounts, with a sharp eye for detail and journalistic expertise, Simons does justice to one of the most compelling stories of modern history.

Pub Date: Aug. 27th, 1987
Publisher: Morrow