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An African American Renegade in the Philippine-American War

“With dedicated sleuthing, informed speculation, and gifted storytelling style, Morey sheds new light on David Fagen, an African American insurgent against U.S. colonialism, who has long remained as elusive to historians as he was to the American soldiers that chased him through Philippine forests over a century ago.”
—Paul Kramer, author of The Blood of Government: Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines

In 1898, in an era of racial terror at home and imperial conquest abroad, the United States sent its troops to suppress the Filipino struggle for independence, including three regiments of the famed African American "Buffalo Soldiers." Among them was David Fagen, a twenty-year-old private in the Twenty-Fourth Infantry, who deserted to join the Filipino guerrillas. He led daring assaults and ambushes against his former comrades and commanders—who relentlessly pursued him without success—and his name became famous in the Philippines and in the African American community.

The outlines of Fagen's legend have been known for more than a century, but the details of his military achievements, his personal history, and his ultimate fate have remained a mystery—until now. Michael Morey tracks Fagen's life from his youth in Tampa as a laborer in a phosphate camp through his troubled sixteen months in the army, and, most importantly, over his long-obscured career as a guerrilla officer. Morey places this history in its larger military, political, and social context to tell the story of the young renegade whose courage and defiance challenged the supremacist assumptions of the time.


Michael Morey Michael Morey is a writer and independent historian. He lives in Sonoma County, California.




“Morey brings to light much that remained unknown about one of the most famous figures of the early 20th century.”

“A model for how to take a mythic figure, about whom very little documentation exists, and successfully transform him into a living, breathing man whose life is a window to understanding the meaning of race, war, and masculinity in American society.”
—Jennifer D. Keene, author of Doughboys, the Great War, and the Remaking of America


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February 2019
LC: 2018013081 DS
248 pp. 6 x 9
16 b/w illus., 3 maps

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Cloth $36.95
ISBN 9780299319403
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