A picturesque island strategically located at the entrance of Manila Bay, Corregidor has had military significance since the days of the Spanish galleon trade. Although its dramatic role in the defense of the Philippines during World War II is well documented, relatively little is known about its history apart from military involvement. This richly illustrated book tells the story of the island and sheds new light on the geopolitical forces that shaped its destiny.
Corregidor in Peace and War is a biography of a mysterious island known simply as “the Rock.” It traces the buildup of armaments and fortifications on the island after the American occupation of the Philippines in 1898, then chronicles clandestine military preparations for an expected war with Imperial Japan. It vividly documents aspects of island life before World War II—including the enviable lifestyle of the American officer corps stationed there, the development of the island’s rail system using imported American streetcars, and the creation of the Philippine Scouts coastal artillery units—and then records its loss and recapture during the struggle with Japan. The final chapter reviews the island’s history since the war.
More than 150 illustrations include maps and photos from both the Spanish and American periods up to the present day—some photographs published more than a century ago and impeccably restored, many never before seen in print. Interweaving new and old photos with informative text, Charles Hubbard and Collis Davis, Jr., provide a guided tour that captures the natural beauty of an island once enjoyed by early residents but subsequently decimated by cannon fire and aerial bombardment. Brilliant color images evoke a place where flora and wildlife coexist alongside abandoned fortifications, documenting stark reminders from times of war. Other photographs show the majestic “suicide cliffs” where Japanese soldiers are said to have jumped to their deaths rather than become prisoners.
Now a tourist destination and historic monument, Corregidor remains a formidable island worthy of its nickname. Corregidor in Peace and War uncovers its many unknown facets and singularly reflects the experiences of both a place and a people that deserve a prominent place in history.