Gentleman Soldier

John Clifford Brown and the Philippine-American War

Edited by Joseph P. McCallus

978-1-58544-274-4 Cloth
6.125 x 9.25. 320 pp. 15 b&w photos., 4 maps.
Pub Date: 11/14/2003


  • Cloth $39.95
Based on the journal of John Clifford Brown, a veteran of the Philippine–American War, Title reveals the inner workings of a young man seduced by adventure. Educated as an engineer at M.I.T., Brown enjoyed the life of a typical New England gentleman until the Spanish–American War broke out in 1898. Brown then enlisted in a volunteer regiment with a commission as a captain, but his outfit never made it to Cuba. The experience heightened his desire for excitement, however, and in 1899, against the wishes of his family, he re-enlisted in the military—this time without an officer’s commission—and was deployed to the Philippines. Brown wrote a series of letters to his mother and numerous journal entries, which he mailed home for safe-keeping. After his death in 1901 from typhoid fever, fifty copies of his journal were published and distributed by his family.

Brown’s conflicted character adds to the drama of the narrative: he was a member of the Corps of Engineers and also a wealthy man attempting to hide his identity among enlisted soldiers. Brown’s narrative is magnetic, intoxicating the reader with imagery of turn-of-the-century Philippines and its “decaying European architecture and decadent Spanish culture.” Editor Joseph P. McCallus adds his own research to annotate Brown’s journal entries, producing a unique account of the war.

McCallus addresses the controversy of the U.S. annexation of the Philippines, the development of the country as an American colony, the Philippine–American War, and the influence of the United States in today’s Philippines. The quality of the narrative, enhanced by McCallus’s thoughtful insights, will appeal to those interested in travel stories, military history, and Asia and the Philippines.

Williams-Ford Texas A&M University Military History Series

Published by Texas A&M University Press