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5.0 out of 5 stars Attractive, engaging, resourceful, ..... and a great read.
By David Charles Lawless
November 6, 2013
This is a very attractive book. I found a bound paperback copy of this in bookstore in SE Asia. Have not seen e-book edition.
The format, the illustrations got my attention; but with that, the book is thorough in presenting the chronology of events, legislation and policy that evolved over the period from the arrival of Dewey's white fleet until the present.
So i got a lot out of this one. Things i had not come across before. Adjusting my general view of old Uncle Sam (US state and Crony business Elites).
At first glance it appeared the book was aimed at highschoolers, but it does not skip over things to simplify a story. It is not "light" on content and research, but summarizes, thoroughly, the history with a cascade of factual events. Much more depth than i had anticipated. So am thinking this is college level read, or a text that a prof. could build a curriculum around.
There is a polemic aspect to the book, and some of that aspect i would dispute, however these are separated out from the presentation of the factual events, legislation, policy, letters and even some powerful editorial cartoons from early in the 20th century (the classroom one is so rich in details that it deserves an entire page and examination with magnifying glass).
Lots of illustrations throughout this book, and a lot of ground covered in a thoroughly researched presentation of the facts, and how these impacted the lives of filipinos over the century.
A great find! a must read!
By C Lisa Lee
December 5, 2013
History books normally would entice me to think of the usual aftermath-- “What would happen if...”
When I enjoy the book or find a book interesting, I naturally talk about it and recommend it. Other than that, I do not go beyond anything else. However, after reading this book, not only did I enjoy it and want to talk about it, I wanted to take the next flight back to the motherland and see for myself physical clues I missed or forgot that were direct results of the subject matter that Chris Pforr wrote about.
The topic which Mr. Pforr picked can be a challenge and intimidating to the first time reader. His insightful writing is made easy to understand with his use of descriptive timelines enhanced with many illustrations. I find Mr. Pforr’s comprehensive research noteworthy. His “in-your-face” approach to this suppressed period in Philippine history deserves ample consideration both by the general public and by the academic community.
Chris Pforr’s “Coca-Cola, Krags and Uncle Sam: A Brief History of U.S. Imperialism in the Philippines” is far from the made-for-Hollywood fairytale Filipinos are so used to reading about their glossy relationship with the United States. This book will engage you to further read on the matter. It will make you take a second look about this forgotten past. So glad indeed that Chris Pforr chose to write with honesty and not with a safety net.
An Antidote to Colonial Consciousness
By Ken Fuller
December 16, 2013
Around a decade ago, I visited my son’s social studies teacher to complain about the inaccurate picture of the Philippines’ relationship with the rest of the world in his Philippine history textbook, written by Sonia Zaide. According to this, Spain had succeeded in conquering the Philippines because it had been “God’s will,” and before the arrival of the Thomasites Filipino children had been taught to read by “kindly American soldiers.” The teacher, initially startled by this spectacle of a foreign parent demanding a more anti-imperialist line in his history class, finally confessed that he preferred Teodoro Agoncillo’s History of the Filipino People, “although it’s a bit anti-American.”
Chris Pforr’s Coca-Cola, Krags and Uncle Sam: A Brief History of US Imperialism in the Philippines was not around at the time. After a short account of the pre-colonial and Spanish periods, Chris’s book, illustrated by Wylz Gutierrez, takes the young reader through the US colonial era and then traces the influence that the USA still wields in the Philippines up to the present day. There is never any doubt in the reader’s mind that, although Washington may have prattled about its “civilizing mission,” its real intentions in the Philippines were rooted in its own economic and geo-political interests and that this continues to be the case.
For most young Filipinos – or those fortunate enough to encounter this book – this will be their first experience of this interpretation of Philippine history. That is in itself a stark indication of how “successful” the US presence has been in molding Filipino minds.
The book briefly discusses the resulting “colonial consciousness,” a phenomenon that has distorted the Filipino’s view of himself and exaggerated the merits of his colonizers and their cultures. This is so pervasive that it is a huge mistake to underestimate or ignore it. For that reason alone, this innovative book is important.
Concise, Easy to Read, and Humorous
By Andrew Cahn
December 27, 2013
Chris Pforr's Coca-Cola, Krags and Uncle Sam is a wonderful book. It presents the the seldom-told story of the role of US imperialism in shaping the modern Philippines. Pforr wrote this to address the pitiful lack of discussion this topic gets in the typical high school curriculum in the Philippines. Consequently, although the book is thoroughly researched and meticulously documented, it does not read like a academic tome. Instead, it reads like a graphic novel with short, pithy paragraphs and countless illustrations. (I read the Kindle version. My understanding is that the paperback version (only available in SE Asia) has even more illustrations.) Pforr's humor lightens what would otherwise be a morbid and depressing tale. Pforr found just the right illustrator -- Wylz Gutierrez has the deft touch of being true enough to historical photographs to be recognizable yet cartoonish enough to fit the feel of the book.