Woman of the Year

Cory Aquino leads a fairy-tale revolution, then surprises the world with her strength

History, wrote Gibbon, is little more than a "register of crimes, sorrows and misfortunes." It is, equally often, a study in black ironies or the fatal mechanisms of tragedy. Sometimes history is even a cautionary tale, an Aesopian fable on the folly of blindness or greed or lust. But history is rarely a fairy tale, a narrative that instructs as well as inspires. Still less often is it a morality play, in which the forces of corruption and redemption, of extravagance and modesty collide in perfect symmetry.

In 1986, however, as all the global village looked on, history turned into a...

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