The Good Fight, by Manuel L. Quezon
IN THE past twenty-eight years, it has been my privilege to publish a number of books –some of serious import and permanent value, and others intended only to divert and amuse the reader. Both such types have their place and function.
Well as I have known many authors, this is the first occasion on which I have felt impelled to have a personal part, however insignificant, in the actual presentation to the reading public, of a book bearing my Company’s imprint.
But the circumstances are unusual.
The author of this book is to me more than an author, –for thirty-seven years, he had been my close personal friend. I first knew him when I was a member of the Philippine Commission and Secretary of Public Instruction in 1907. He had been elected a member of the First Philippine Assembly and I always had to speak to him in Spanish for he knew hardly any English at that time. Many have been closer to him in the recent years of his high public responsibility, but no one, I venture to hope, has followed his signally successful and enlightened public career, and his splendidly sincere and human private life, without realizing that he is one of those few who, from every race, in every epoch, and under whatever seeming handicaps, raise a flaming torch of progressive leadership by which their fellowmen may steer.
For nine years, I had besought my friend, Manuel Quezon, to write a book of his experiences. While he never refused, there was always some claim with a priority on his time and energy.
It took the Japanese attack on his country and its consequent bringing him in exile to this, his second fatherland, to drive him to sacrifice his well-earned rest, and give of his harassed mind and body, in producing this, to me, fascinating story of a genius unconsciously earning its just reward.
In the sub-title, it is stated that this story is in President Quezon’s own words. That is literally true. Every page of it, except three short chapters indicated later, which were given by him in recorded conversations, was dictated by him in English to his own Filipino secretary, Senor Serapio D. Canceran, and written out in English.
Then it reached my desk, day after day, and I changed a word here, a tense there –all too trifling to be mentioned.
Then it went into type.
President Quezon necessarily wrote almost entirely from memory, since his diaries and personal documents either were left in Malacañan Palace, the Philippine “White House,” before he joined General MacArthur on Corregidor, or fell into the hands of the Japanese who captured the launch, Princess of Negros, off the town of San Carlos in the Island of Negros on March 16, 1942.
To those privileged to hear Manuel Quezon speak to his countrymen in his native Tagalog, as I have, even without understanding him, and to those who have heard his impassioned addresses in perfect Castilian – as I often have — it is a rare treat to see the man reveal himself, with the candor of a child, in a difficult foreign language of which be knew not a word until long after becoming of age.
I am rash enough to say that the brave Filipino people could have had no finer paladin.
W. Morgan Shuster
New York City,
August 18, 1944