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In time for the 50th anniversary of the Cuban revolution, Schoultz, a University of North Carolina political science professor, offers an exhaustive study of the relationship between the U.S. and Cuba in the 20th and early 21st centuries. It would be a shame if the book's heft made it too intimidating for some readers to pick up, because it's an approachable, deeply satisfying narrative with a clear-eyed and persuasive critique of U.S. policy toward Cuba and, more broadly, of U.S. policy toward any weaker nation that has ever stubbornly asserted its sovereignty. Schoultz examines how the benevolent arrogance of U.S. State and Defense department advisers made schemes like the Bay of Pigs possible, and how racism steered American policy in the 20th century. He keeps the story a page-turner by maintaining his focus: analyzing U.S. policy from a U.S. perspective, speculating neither about the quality of Castro's leadership or the quality of life in Cuba. This is a gripping, expertly told story of one of the most complicated foreign policy relationship in the western hemisphere. (Apr.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.