A unified nation with a single people, the Philippines is also a highly fragmented, plural society. Divided between uplander and lowlander, rich and poor, Christian and Muslim, between those of one ethnic, linguistic, and geographic region and those of another, the nation is a complex mosaic formed by conflicting forces of consensus and national identity and of division and instability.It is not possible to comprehend the many changes in the Philippines?such as the rise and fall of Ferdinand Marcos or the revolution that toppled him?without an awareness of the religious, cultural, and economic forces that have shaped the history of these islands. These forces formed the focus of the first edition of The Philippines. Of that 1982 edition, the late Benigno Aquino Jr., noted that ?anyone wanting to understand the Philippines and the Filipinos today must include this book in his '`'must' reading list.?The fourth edition has been updated through the final years of the Ramos presidency, and contains a new section on the impact of President Estrada.