A War of Frontier and Empire: The Philippine-American War, 1899–1902

David J. Silbey, Author . Hill & Wang $25 (240p) ISBN 978-0-8090-7187-6

Silbey, a historian at Alvernia College, merits praise for the best brief introduction to the complex subject of the U.S. conquest of the Philippines now available. Synthesizing a broad spectrum of published scholarship from both Philippine and American sources, he convincingly establishes that the Philippine-American War included three separate conflicts. The first was a Filipino-American war against Spain, which the Filipinos were on the point of winning by themselves. In the second, the U.S. decisively outfought the embryonic Philippine Republic. Silbey establishes the U.S. decision to annex the Philippines as a transition from a frontier to a global ethos, incorporating spiritual, modernist and Darwinian elements, aided by the American army. However, that lost war defined Filipino national identity—far more so than the third war, which was a guerrilla conflict between the U.S. armed forces and an increasingly locally focused insurgency. Though the American victory involved episodes of brutality, Silbey demonstrates that it was sufficiently quick, decisive and humane, and the former opponents cooperated so amicably, that Americans were arguably deceived regarding the general prospects of reconciling enemies. As America contributed to Philippine nationalism by establishing economic, social and linguistic connections, he shows that Filipino defeat came to look like victory. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 01/08/2007
Release date: 00/00/0000
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 254 pages - 978-0-8090-9661-9
Open Ebook - 272 pages - 978-0-374-70739-2
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