Tales of the Philippines

In the Early 1900's

Non-Fiction - Memoir
176 Pages
Reviewed on 07/01/2019
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Author Biography

The author, Simon Bolivar Buckner Jr., was a West Point lieutenant who served two tours in the Philippines between 1910 and 1917. He was inquisitive and adventurous while in the Philippines and submitted his manuscript to a New York publisher in the 1920's, but it was not accepted. He made a career of the Army and was a lieutenant general when he was killed in action by Japanese artillery on Okinawa June 18, 1945. His son, William knew nothing of the book's manuscript and photo album until his mother died in 1988. Wiliam digitized the manuscript and photos and at last published the book in 2019.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

Tales of the Philippines: In the Early 1900's is a nonfiction memoir written by Simon Bolivar Buckner Jr. with a preface by his son, William C. Buckner. The memoir consists of over 80 short accounts of Buckner’s experiences as a West Point graduate who was stationed in the Philippines in 1910. Despite the inherent dangers present for any American in the Philippines at that time, and in the presence of hostile natives, illness and deadly wildlife, Buckner approached his time in the Philippines with the enthusiasm and curiosity of a born explorer. Having a twenty-five-foot motor launch at his disposal facilitated his desire to learn more about the islands and their inhabitants.

This memoir is a marvelous time capsule that shares with modern readers the author’s experiences while stationed in the islands. His son has neither edited nor redacted portions of the stories left to him by his father. And, while there are inevitably times when the modern reader may barely be able to suppress a cringe or sense of outrage at the relations between American soldiers and the natives whose land they were stationed in, that instinct of William Buckner to preserve the memoirs as they stand makes them even more valuable as a look into the not-so-distant past. The stories are wonderful, filled with high-jinks, laughter and insights into the culture the author was experiencing first-hand. Buckner also includes his father’s photographs which work quite well with the narrative. While aged, each picture is well-preserved and enhances the reading experience immeasurably. Tales of the Philippines: In the Early 1900's is most highly recommended.