In This Review

Subversive Lives: A Family Memoir of the Marcos Years
Subversive Lives: A Family Memoir of the Marcos Years
By Susan F. Quimpo and Nathan Gilbert Quimpo
Ohio University Press, 2016, 512 pp

A militant leftist movement has existed in various forms in the Philippines since the early twentieth century. It burgeoned from the 1960s through the 1980s as students and young professionals reacted to Ferdinand Marcos’ repressive rule and his 1972 imposition of martial law. Seven of the ten Quimpo siblings were among those who joined the Maoism-influenced Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). All who survive have contributed chapters to this collective memoir, which manages to present a coherent story despite the multitude of voices. The family saga began when the older siblings demonstrated against the Vietnam War as high school students, to the horror of their cautious, hard-working parents. Step by step, the children deepened their involvement, until most were living on the run, trying to spark an armed revolution. The male siblings suffered imprisonment, torture, and exile. With the end of the Marcos dictatorship and the breakup of the CPP, the surviving siblings returned to their middle-class roots as teachers and government officials, although they remain outraged by the injustices in Philippine society. At once political and personal, this is a valuable source on a lesser-known chapter of Philippine history.