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This book, Coca Cola and Krags and Uncle Sam: A Brief History of U.S. Imperialism in the Philippines, by Chris Pforr, an American living in the Philippines, chronologically presents the history of how the Philippines was invaded and colonized by the United States. The Philippines was one of the first to be colonized by the United States in its overseas expansion as an Empire. The Philippines was also transformed into a grand experiment called "neocolonialism" by the U.S.. Neocolonialism as the author describes it, is a "relationship in which one nation exercises strategic, economic and cultural domination over another, even though in a formal sense they are supposedly 'equal'. "
Going through the book, I felt it is the work not only to be read by the young generation of Filipinos (and even by Americans), but also to be treasured in our collection. This book, because it is written in simple yet powerful language and with illustrations by Wylz Gutierrez, is a wonder and a joy to behold. For this alone, it is an important contribution to the literature on U.S. imperialism in the Philippines. He has analyzed the inroads of U.S. imperialism in the Philippines in a lively manner, and has presented the methods and tactics of imperial domination in an informed and sequential way. While avoiding the temptations of being too academic, Pforr manages to offer an original and yet simple discourse on Philippine-U.S. relations and why it is unequal and what must be done. It portrays a truthful and vibrant exposition of the past and continuing struggles of the Filipino people for self-determination and against foreign intervention.
The author's nationality as an American does not betray his quest for facts to unearth the long distorted history of Filipinos. His book is an unequivocal criticism of his own government's foreign and military policies in the Philippines. His solidarity for Filipinos and their struggles moves my heart. His outrage at the injustices against the Filipino people warms me. He is an internationalist, as we must all be.
I am grateful to introduce this book to Filipino readers especially to the young generation of students and youth. With eloquent anger and careful research, Pforr captures the essence of the Filipinos' aspirations for self-determination. I have no doubt that this book will be very helpful for our young generations to help them understand Imperialism and Neocolonialism -- realities which have long been kept from the standard history books.
Our young Filipino readers will enjoy reading this essential book on U.S. imperialism in the Philippines. For despite the past injustices and continuing inequality, there is a way forward for Philippine-U.S. relations.
Roland G. Simbulan
University of the Philippines
January 6, 2013