|Enlisting to fight Spain for sinking the USS Maine, the 51st Iowa Volunteers found themselves on the other side of the world fighting Filipinos. Dozens died in their training camps, dozens more suffered wounds and death in the rough tropic surrounds of the Philippines. Here is the story of Iowa's only regiment to serve in that distant war, a war that defined our nation as a new world power, but at great cost.|
Available November 2016
6 x 9 paper 413 pages index maps photos
a complete, updated, alphabetical roster of 1,341 names
...the 51st Volunteers set foot on a land remarkably unlike their own. While Iowa’s people were overwhelmingly white, the people of the Philippines were overwhelmingly dark. While Iowa was mostly flat, the Philippines was mostly mountainous. While Iowa’s climate was temperate, the Philippines was tropical. While Iowa lay in the middle of a large continent, Manila was situated on an island the size of Tennessee. While the U.S. was knit together by a common language, the Philippines was an insular culture with a dozen regional languages; moreover, most Americans seemed unaware that Spanish served only a privileged minority as the language of government and commerce. While Iowa had many, mostly Protestant religious denominations, the Philippines had one official religion – Catholicism – which operated as a pseudo arm of government. To move people, goods, and messages, Iowa depended on extensive railroads, a grid of rural roads, and a widespread telegraph system. In the Philippines, most commerce moved by water. The country’s only railroad had been completed just a few years earlier, and stretched north from Manila but 120 miles. Most roads were primitive and wandering, and the telegraph system linked only a few of the most important cities. While much of Iowa was divided into thousands of small, independent farms, much of central Luzon consisted of large agricultural estates, some owned by families with Spanish roots, and many owned by religious orders of the Catholic Church. While Iowans built thick, solid houses to withstand winter blizzards, Filipinos built flexible, easily repaired houses to withstand earthquakes and typhoons. While Iowa was a patriarchal culture, much of the Philippines was matriarchal. While Iowa’s women dressed according to the cinched-up, covered-up Victorian standards of the time, native women in the Philippines dressed for their tropical climate in light, loose clothing. In short, when going ashore the 51st Volunteers experienced a place utterly unlike anything they knew.