Recommended Reading List for Moroland


   In researching for my history of the United States and the Moros, here are a few books related to the subject that I found to be informative, accurate, and well-written. Some are now out of print but can still be easily found through your local library’s “inter-Library Loan” program.

   Books which address the broader context of how and why the United States came to be  in the Philippines in the first place:

1. Ernest May, Imperial Democracy; the Emergence of America as a Great Power (1973).

2. George Kennan, American Diplomacy, 1900 – 1950 (1951).

3. H.W. Brands, Bound to Empire: the United States and the Philippines (1992).

4. Margaret Leech, In the Days of McKinley (1959).

5. Lewis L. Gould, The Spanish-American War and President McKinley (1982).

6. Oscar M. Alfonso, Theodore Roosevelt and the Philippines, 1897-1909 (1974).

7. Richard E. Welch, Response to Imperialism: The united States and the Philippine-American War, 1899-1902 (1979).

    Three books which place the American military in that same context:

8. Brian Linn, Guardians of Empire: The U.S. Army and the Pacific, 1902-1940 (1997).

9. Perry D. Jamieson, Crossing Deadly Ground: United States Army Tactics, 1865-1899 (1994).

10. William R. Braisted, The United States Navy in the Pacific, 1897-1909 (1958). 

   Two outstanding histories of the Philippine-American War (a.k.a. Philippine Insurrection):

11. Linn, Brian M. The Philippine War, 1898 – 1902 (2000).

12.  John Morgan Gates, Schoolbooks and Krags; the United States Army in the Philippines, 1898 – 1902 (1973).

   A newly-released history of the U.S. Army's Moro Campaigns by an established military historian:

13. James R. Arnold, The Moro War (2011).

   First-hand, personal accounts (alphabetical by author):         

14. Robert Lee Bullard, Personalities and Reminiscences of the War (1925) – candid evaluations from a distinguished soldier with long professional relationships with both Leonard Wood and John J. Pershing.

15. Lt. Col. Harold Hanne Elarth, Ed., The Story of the Philippine Constabulary (1949). A compilation of Elarth’s own and many other first-hand experiences as officers in the Philippine Constabulary. A caution is in order, however. Since it was compiled many years later after some memories had dimmed, there are a number of the factual errors concerning dates, places, and the sequence of events.

16. Col. Horace P. Hobbs, Kris and Krag: Adventures Among The Moros Of The Southern Philippine Islands (1962)- this is an editing of Hobbs diary by his son.

17. David Potter, Sailing the Sulu Sea: Belles and Bandits in the Philippines (1940) – very entertaining memoir of the experiences of a junior US Navy officer on board the gunboat USS Manila in 1899 and 1900.

18. Hugh Lenox Scott, Some Memories of a Soldier (1928) – A fascinating memoir from a soldier whose career placed him at the very center of the history of the US Army from the week after the Custer Massacre to Armistice Day World War I. Scott was fondly remembered the Tausugs as the “Gubnor” of Sulu for many years after he left.

19. Col. John R. White, Bullets and Bolos: Fifteen Years in the Philippine Islands (1928) – a true modern-day “Renaissance man”, born in England White fought in the Greek Foreign Legion, was a miner in Yukon Gold Rush, a US soldier in the Philippine War, one of the most important officers in the Philippine Constabulary, a homesteader in British Columbia, fed starving Serbs  in the Balkans, at 39 was the oldest Pursuit pilot in WW I, became an expert in Giant Sequoia’s and a founder of the US National Park Service.

   The Victor Hurley books. Almost everyone interested in this topic comes across the ubiquitous and colorful books of Vic Hurley. In 1927 and only a year or two out of college, Hurley and a friend moved to the Sarangani Peninsula of Mindanao in a short and spectacularly unsuccessful attempt to become planters, by homesteading a land parcel. After only several months it ended in a long hospital stay and an empty wallet. Hurley wrote an entertaining book about his experiences, Southeast of Zamboanga, published in 1935. He was then contacted by Charles W. Furlong, a noted author, and enlisted in a collaboration to write a book about Furlong’s brother, Leonard, who had been an important, and tragic, figure in the Moro Constabulary. Through Charles Furlong, Hurley was put into touch with a few retired Constabulary officers, most notably Harold Elarth and John White. Both shared material from books they were writing. While both books referenced below are worth reading, they must be taken with a substantial grain of salt. Hurley was an entertaining writer, but a number of historians, as well as this writer, have encountered numerous factual inaccuracies in both works. Both books have recently been reprinted and may be purchased at the web site

19. Victor Hurley, The Swish of the Kris (1936).

20. Victor Hurley, Jungle Patrol (1938).

Last revised - 08/26/2011