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I had never been out of the States when in 1945 I was plunked down in the Philippines in a position where I could find out facts and be as curious as I wanted to be. . . . I was special assistant to US High Commissioner McNutt, and my job was to do the history of our mission. . . . In my position I met all sorts of important brass, American and Filipino; I met Osmena, Roxas, and other leaders; I met the collaborators or men charged with being collaborators; I met guerrillas. . . . I travelled in bandit country, up in the gold-mine country where the Igorots lived, in areas where there were still pockets of Japanese—but all was serene, ideal for anybody interested in learning about the people and the revolutions over fifty years—the revolutions for rice and land and liberty. . . . All this experience—I kept a daily diary—finally shaped itself, in my head, into a work of nonfiction about what I had seen and learned. Well, I didn’t write it. Having been mainly a novelist, I wrote a novel, never dreaming that events in Asia would soon take all the headlines. I knew of course that the rice revolution would continue for decades, if necessary, but did not anticipate the speed of events. Events thus caught up with my own fiction—for I was concerned in my novel, through the focus of my main American character—to say that Japan, through its Asia for the Asiatics propaganda, had finally released a tidal wave; and that the left would lead this wave; and that America for its own sake must understand that at the heart of this wave was a bowl of rice.