On an otherwise normal morning at a private school for girls, a 15-year-old student is picked up by soldiers and sent to a military camp, becoming one of the thousands of political prisoners arrested under Ferdinand Marcos' repressive regime in the 1970s. A year earlier, Marcos had declared martial law and a military government effectively took over the Philippines. After her release, Vicky Pinpin-Feinstein was required to report to camp, her probation lasting five years. She was never charged and was never told why she was arrested. The effects of prison and the long-term probation makes Vicky’s story an authentic representation of the pernicious effects of dictatorship and tyranny, effects that pervaded a life for decades to come. This is a historically vital memoir, not only moving in its rendition of what life was like for a young innocent girl, but also for its incisive analysis of the political forces that wrecked democratic ideals in a country where politics and violence have always worked together for the benefit of the few.
Podcast about A Thousand Little Deaths
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"This true story of a young innocent girl brutalised by a despotic regime is a despairingly common story. Her own government betrayed her youthful ideals and aspirations. While it is an account of one life among many that endured such upheaval, it is a compelling warning.
I saw the best and worst of Filipino society while working as a journalist in the Philippines during Marcos' reign. That dark era showed how politics can devastate democratic ideals. Sadly in such a beautiful country, politics and violence have traditionally been combined and distorted to always benefit a select few."
-Mark Toohey, Journalist and Lawyer, Sydney, Australia
" Though I finished reading the book, I did not want it to end. I reminded myself that I can always read it again. The author's words are like good wine. I am amazed at the well-crafted construction of not only the author's words, but how she has pieced together her thoughts. It is truly a crafted art form. Her style has layers of complexity that I wanted to savor after reading a sentence or paragraph. The way the author wove the personal and emotional experience of her childhood with the intellectual national historical and political background of the country was so incredibly interesting to me. She is a writer in the truest sense of the word—well done!"
-Katie Megna, Communications Specialist, Westlake, California
"This book brought the Philippines alive for me, it was very compelling."
-Susan Olshansky, New York City
"This is one of the most memorable books I've ever read. Wonderfully told; absolutely remarkable. I highly recommend this book."
-Cynthia Viray, New York City
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Vicky Pinpin-Feinstein left the Philippines for the United States to work as a member of an international research team on the roles of women portrayed on television across five countries. She holds graduate degrees in Telecommunications Policy and Political Science and worked for the East-West Center, the Smithsonian, and public television. She has consulted on telecommunications policy, and information and communication technologies in international development for the World Bank, UNESCO, AusAid, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, as well as private and non-profit organizations. She has also written about organizations using social giving strategies for community development initiatives in the developing world.
Taking a step back from consulting, she decided to take creative writing courses and has since written and published a memoir. She is currently at work on her second book about Ethiopian Americans in the Washington DC area.
She is married and has two children. She is an avid traveler and a lover of books and music.