Ferdinand Marcos (1917 to 1989) ruled the Philippines with dictatorial powers from 1965 when he was elected President to 1986 when he was disposed in the 1986 People Power Revolution. The People Power Revolution culminated in four days of largely peaceful demonstrations in Manila on February 22 to the 26. Millions demanded Marcos resign. Marcos knew he had to leave when the police and military refused his commands to use extreme force to disperse the crowds, including Air Force battle helicopters. The military leaders knew if they ordered their men to fire on their own relatives they would be in grave danger themselves. My wife and Father in Law were among the demonstrators.
Marcos was not a monster like Stalin, Hitler, or Mao. At most a few political opponents deaths can be attributed to him. He did not cause the death of millions, he started no wars. He was more motivated by accumulating massive amounts of wealth and Imelda Marcos was very much a part of this aspect of his rule. Marcos basically stole from the Filipino people huge amounts of American aid money meant to help the ordinary people raise their living standard. He also exploited the business people of the country, demanding massive kickbacks. One of the secrets to his power was in the charm and world class beauty of his wife Imelda Marcos who charmed everyone from American Presidents to the voters of the country. Imelda initiated a massive public works campaign and then got huge payments by the contractors on the project.
Carmen Pedrosa's book goes deeply into the family background of Imelda, two generations back. She explains to us the forces in the life history of Imelda that drive her to such extremes of consumerism as her 5000 pair shoe collection. There is a lot to be learned about how politics worked (and still works) in the Philippines from this book. Political power is in the hands of a few families, as is the wealth of the country. This is a very much worth reading book for those into modern Filipino history and politics.
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