Corazon Aquino: The Story of a Revolution by Lucy Komisar

Corazon Aquino: The Story of a Revolution is a nonfiction book by American journalist Lucy Komisar which was published on January 31, 1987 by George Braziller, a New York-based independent publisher specializing in literary fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. The book is an unauthorized biography of the former Philippine president. Komisar is a multi-awarded journalist who has written for diverse publications including The Nation, The Wall Street Journal, In These Times, and the Mississippi Free Press.


"This popular biography of the Philippines president traces her transformation from a shadowy partner of her martyred husband into a forceful and charismatic leader in her own right. Komisar, a journalist with experience in the Philippines, provides an engrossing account of Cory Aquino's political battles during her first year in office. But her story is long on personal and often trivial detail and short on interpretation. The fundamental problems faced by the Philippines are presented superficially and one gets little sense of whether Aquino has the will to address them. Komisar's attempt to be comprehensive and up-to-date produces a largely shapeless book that unfolds like an endless newspaper article." - Steven I. Levine

"Another of many services in this book is this: In its view into Aquino’s decision-making process, the president emerges as a much stronger figure than the sweet cipher with an apron that the U.S. media has promulgated. And the reader will come to understand how Aquino has all but bested her nation’s patriarchal political system, and why the Filipino cultural pattern of utang na loob (debt of gratitude) has often tripped, if not crippled, her decisions.

I’m obliged to quibble, however. Komisar underestimates the importance of Marcos’ fake war record and hidden wealth in crystallizing popular opposition beginning in the summer of 1985, when U.S. reporters began uncovering the stories, which were of course relayed to the Philippines. The opposition by then had lost momentum derived from fury over Benigno Aquino’s murder. Despite his illness, Marcos was perceived as indestructible--but with these revelations, which continued up to the week before election day, the popular fear of Marcos and his machine crumbled. 

Significantly, it was the failed parliamentary move to impeach him in August, 1985 (after initial reports of his stolen millions), that spurred the old warrior to announce his snap election in the first place. My only other quibble is that this book’s solid, journalistic narrative--full of coups, plots, assassinations, and an unforgettable electoral campaign--lacks drama." - David Haward Bain, Los Angeles Times (May 10, 1987)