Written as a family history, ‘Subversive Lives’ furnishes us with powerful testimonies on the era of Ferdinand Marcos and Jose Maria Sison, along with narratives on the vicissitudes of the revolutionary movement. Each Quimpo sibling bears witness to the events they and others did so much to shape. From aborted attempts to smuggle weapons for the NPA to heady times organizing ‘spontaneous uprisings’ and general strikes in Mindanao, from the cruel discovery of the cause of one brother’s death at the hands of a ‘kasama’ (comrade) to the near hallucinatory tales of imprisonment and torture at the hands of the military, these stories remind us of the personal costs and the daily heroism of those who joined the movement. But they also bring forth its messy and unresolved legacies of sons alienated from their father; daughters abused and victimized by the military and deluded by a religious cult; brothers lost to the war; friends betrayed, comrades purged, and revolutionary affection soured and then destroyed by intractable ideological differences. Such stories are much less about an unfinished revolution as they are about an inconclusive one. To read these accounts, each so rich and distinctive in its tone, is to hear the rhythm of the revolution. (Vicente Rafael)