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Manoa 15.2 (2003) 212-213
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Vestiges of War: The Philippine-American War and the Aftermath of an Imperial Dream 1899-1999. Edited by Angel Velasco Shaw and Luis H. Francia. New York: New York University Press, 2002. 468 pages, paper $29.95.
Vestiges of War: The Philippine-American War and the Aftermath of an Imperial Dream 1899-1999 was produced to mark the forgotten war between the United [End Page 212] States and the fledgling Republic of the Philippines, which had declared its independence from Spain in 1898 and elected its first president a year later. The United States had recently defeated Spain, after a three-month war, and had intended to take control of the former colony. When the Filipino people resisted, war broke out between the American occupiers and the soldiers of the new nation. At the conclusion of the war, in July 1902, more than 220,000 Filipino soldiers and civilians had been killed, along with about 4,200U.S. soldiers. Through poems, archival photos, visual art, essays, plays, and memoirs, editors Angel Velasco Shaw and Luis H. Francia seek to reexamine the "willfully forgotten" history of the war.
The three dozen contributors to Vestiges include Eric Gamalinda, Jessica Hagedorn, Rene G. Ontal, Manuel Ocampo, Nguyen Qui Duc, and Mark Twain. Their stories uncover not just the lost history of the war, but also its consequences: the generation gap between parents who vividly remember the war and children who have never heard of it; the cultural rifts and pain of assimilation experienced by Filipinos in America; and the effects on the Philippine psyche of Spanish colonization and American occupation.
Editors Shaw and Francia hope that readers will find this anthology unsettling. They want the silence to be broken loudly. They want the prevailing myths to be debunked. And they've succeeded brilliantly in presenting a vibrant, multifaceted view of the war's effects—past, present, and lasting into the future.
Leza Lowitz is Manoa's corresponding editor for Japan and reviews editor. She has written two books of poetry and translated eight books from the Japanese. Along with her cotranslator, Shogo Oketani, she was awarded a 2003 Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission Prize for the Translation of Japanese Literature for America and Other Poems by Ayukawa Nobuo.