Book Review: Insurgent Cuba: Race, Nation, and Revolution, 1868-1898

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by Ada Ferrer

Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press, 1999. Pp. xi, 273. Illus, notes, biblio., index. $18.95 paper. ISBN:0-8078-4783-6

A study of the Cuban revolutionary army, which in the interests of victory attempted – and to a large extent succeeded – in creating a racially integrated force. Although a good study of the social and political aspects of the revolutionary army, the book is unsatisfactory when it comes to organization, doctrine, tactics, and operations. There’s a lot of silly “PC” terminology, such as the use of “enslaved” for “slave,” and the few times combat impinges on the discussion the author relies excessively on wholly unconfirmed accounts by revolutionaries. In addition, the author betrays considerable lack of familiarity with things military, expressing some surprise that the revolutionary army usually made officers of the more educated people. To her credit, Ferrer concedes that the revolutionaries were as much responsible for the suffering of the rural poor as were the Spaniards, and accepts the fact that the war had been lost by the time the U.S. became involved. Despite its flaws, a good book, and the footnotes are worth reading.
Reviewer: A. A. Nofi   


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