Suggested Reading On the Filipino American War

When it comes to discussing wars, not a lot of people are aware of the fact that both America and the Philippines have fought against each other. While the Philippines considered it as the continuation of the struggle for independence, the Americans regarded it as insurrection. The war continued for almost three years with heavy losses on both sides. If you wish to dive deep into the matter, we have compiled a list of some of the best Filipino American war books for you to consider. Let’s discuss. 

Factors to Consider When Buying the Perfect Filipino-American War Book

The Conflict

When it comes to buying the perfect Filipino-American war book, the conflict itself holds the most value. Even though the world is aware of the World Wars that have taken place in the past but seems to forget the Filipino-American conflict. It was also a war that results in thousands of casualties.

However, since historians and authors have mostly focused and emphasized other types of wars, you will hardly come across a wide variety of well-written books on this subject. As a result, details and accurate descriptions are hard to find.

But at the same time, if you were to discuss a subject such as the death of hitler, you will come across a plethora of books that describe the actual event along with all the events prior that led to the actual situation.

This is why, it is important that you pick a book, which explains the entire account of the conflict. How it all began and ended is important for the reader to understand and come to a conclusion. The best Filipino American books out there have done a splendid job of highlighting military mindsets and interpretations leading to the conflict in that respect.

The Consequences

While the conflict took place and ended in the past, what one finds hard to forget is the lives that were lost as a result. Unfortunately, the biggest setback of the Filipino-American war was that it was simply a misconception. Both sides fought for nothing and the world seems to forget it with a blink of an eye.

For some reason, people take it for granted and underestimate the consequences of the conflicts, perhaps due to the fact that it is not as lifted into the air by the media and historians as are the other conflicts. 

The fact that the American leaders had only one thing in mind and that was to put it at the top of the world, led to insurgencies and acts of terrorism. Fortunately, the accounts and atrocities have been beautifully captured by legendary authors in their remarkably written books. 

With that said, to understand the conflict from all angles, it is essential that you opt for a book that emphasizes the consequences and the war lessons learned and forgotten at the same time. This helps to understand that wars are no joke and the Filipino-American conflict had no winners at the end.

The Events

Every war has important events that decide the course of the conflict and the Filipino-American war has a sea of them. It’s just that, as mentioned earlier, that most historians have ignored to capture in detail. Luckily, some of the best Filipino American books have highlighted the crucial events in splendid detail.

For instance, the beginning of the Philippines occupation by the Americans and the soldiers facing multiple complexities during the process. On the other hand, the Philippines doing everything they can in their power to defend their homeland. However, during the process, the Americans terrorized different parts of the country and in return, the victims killed hundreds of American soldiers in the most gruesome ways. 

Therefore, if you were to pick the best Filipino-American war book, you will come across the most important events of the conflict that might have made America the most powerful country at the time but at a huge cost. On the other hand, the Filipinos were considered heroes, considering the acts of insurgency and the ultimate plan to submit them to the colonial system.

Our Top Picks

Here is a quick look at our top picks.

Book Features

Honor in the Dust: Theodore Roosevelt, War in the Philipines and the Rise and Fall of America’s Imperial Dream

  • A detailed account of the conflict
  • The role of Theodore Roosevelt
  • Emphasizes some of the most important war events in history

Insurrecto by Gina Apostol

  • Explains the counterattack by the Americans
  • Highlights the consequences of the conflict
  • Termed confusing by readers

Recommended Books

Where to Buy
Honor in the Dust
War Of Frontier And Empire Paperback
The Philippine War, 1899-1902
The U.S. Army and Counterinsurgency in the Philippine War

1. Insurrecto

Insurrecto by Gina Apostol is one of the best Filipino American books out there if you wish to go back in history and learn where it all started. The year 1901 saw the Filipino revolutionaries attacking an American garrison in Balangiga. As a result, the American soldiers went all out and wild by murdering thousands of inhabitants in Balangiga.  Then, in the 70s, Ludo Brasi an American filmmaker went missing in Samar while shooting a movie. The Unintended, transpired by these events. Brasi’s daughter Chiara and a Filipino translator Magsalin in 2018 went on a road trip in Duterte’s Philippines. As Chiara is working on her film, Magaslin reads her film script, which motivates Chiara to write her own version of the war. This book is a highlight of the untold and forgotten war. Something that the world regularly forgets about but is an important part of history. Key Features:
  • Highlights of the Philippine American conflict
  • A war masterpiece
  • Emotional and powerful

2. Honor in the Dust

Author Gregg Jones, in his book, mentions Theodore Roosevelt, who is known as one of the best Presidents of America. He views the conflicts from Theodore’s perspective when he rose to transform the U.S. into a major world power.  America was engaged in the Spanish-American war and the victory would put the country in the international spotlight. However, it also had to face the Philippines. Jones, emphasizes the interesting moments that might not have been focused upon.  Even though there are many historical events written numerous times but Jones brings the readers much closer to reality. He goes onto to explain the misconducts and misconceptions existing between the U.S soldiers and Filipino guerilla soldiers. All this, began with Theodore Roosevelt and his vision to make America the greatest country in the world.  Key Features:
  • Intrinsic details
  • Contributions of Theodore Roosevelt
  • A complete view of the conflict’s repercussions

3. War Of Frontier And Empire Paperback

The Philippines-American conflict was termed as a revolution, insurgency, and guerilla war by some as demonstrated by David J. Silbey. This is amongst the best books about Filipino American war with a compelling history. The war marked America’s first steps towards global power and the wealth of lessons that were forgotten overtime. In this book, the author tracks the rise and fall of President Emilio Aguinaldo as he tried to defend the Philippines against the invaders, even though he failed. The path from destruction to independence is nothing short of eye-opening. Key Features:
  • The rise and fall of the Philippines
  • Highlights a wealth of war lessons
  • Compelling history

4. The Philippine War, 1899-1902

Brian McAllister Linn in his book explains the most controversial and poorly understood conflict. The war pushed the Americans into the center of Asian and Pacific politics but with tragic consequences. As a result, the Americans kept the Philippines under colonial rule for the next five years and were subjected to cultural, political, and economic domination. Linn describes the early days of the war to the final battles against the guerillas. He presents a different point of view of the situation. According to him, it was not a battle between two countries but misunderstood interpretations. The Americans might be proud of their atrocities but the fact that it began and ended for nothing in the first place is a hard one to digest. Key Features:
  • Well-researched and engaging
  • Detailed overview of the conflict
  • Highlights a different perspective of the war

5. The U.S. Army and Counterinsurgency in the Philippine War

Author Brian McAllister Linn comes out again with another interesting recount of the Philippines-American conflict. This book apart from being amongst the best Filipino American war books is also an excellent addition to military history.  In the opening chapter, Linn describes the complex environment faced by the U.S soldiers as it began the occupation of the Philippines after Spain’s defeat. The American soldiers were not just against the Philippines soldiers but also religious rebel groups, Katipunan society, and bandit gangs, etc. At the same time, he also mentions several accounts of terrorism and insurgency.  You might have come across many books about Filipino American history but this is the perfect example of insurgency, military occupation, and guerilla warfare. Key Features:
  • All accounts of insurgency and terrorism
  • Highlights the complexities faced by the American soldiers
  • Meticulously documented


Comparison Chart

Here is a quick comparison table for you to pick the best Filipino American War book.

  InsurrectoHonor in the DustWar Of Frontier And Empire PaperbackThe Philippine War, 1899-1902The U.S. Army and Counterinsurgency in the Philippine War
AuthorGina ApostolGregg JonesDavid J. SilbeyBrian McAllister LinnBrian McAllister Linn
Main IdeaBased on the 1901 Philippine-American conflictThe Philippine-American conflict and the role of Theodore RooseveltThe rise and fall of President  Emilio AguinaldoA war misunderstood and forgotten by manyA study of guerilla warfare and America’s insurgency in different parts of the Philippines


The Filipino-American war was nothing less than a tragedy. Even though both sides are at peace years later but nothing can replace the countless lives lost. However, an important point to note is that while the war was one thing, the way the world perceived it is another. Today, you do not have as many books written on the subject in detail but some like the ones mentioned above include a complete overview and intrinsic details of the tragic event. 

Our recommendation would be the Honor in the Dust: Theodore Roosevelt, War in the Philipines, and the Rise and Fall of America’s Imperial Dream, which takes a different approach to the war. It focuses on some of the most important events that were otherwise easily overlooked.