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.
That Infernal Little Cuban Republic: The United States and the Cuban Revolutionby Lars Schoultz
Lars Schoultz offers a comprehensive chronicle of U.S. policy toward the Cuban Revolution. Using a rich array of documents and firsthand interviews with U.S. and Cuban officials, he tells the story of the attempts and failures of ten U.S. administrations to end the Cuban Revolution. He concludes that despite the overwhelming advantage in size and power that the United… See more details below
Lars Schoultz offers a comprehensive chronicle of U.S. policy toward the Cuban Revolution. Using a rich array of documents and firsthand interviews with U.S. and Cuban officials, he tells the story of the attempts and failures of ten U.S. administrations to end the Cuban Revolution. He concludes that despite the overwhelming advantage in size and power that the United States enjoys over its neighbor, the Cubans' historical insistence on their right to self-determination has been a constant thorn in the side of American administrations, influenced both U.S. domestic politics and foreign policy on a much larger stage, and resulted in a freeze in diplomatic relations of unprecedented longevity.
The Obama administration would be wise to consider Schoultz's latest book essential reading. In a massive text, Schoultz (political science, Univ. of North Carolina) tracks the failures of ten U.S. Presidents to come to grips with and understand Cuba and Castro's Cuban Revolution, illuminating this grave and persistent flaw in American diplomacy. Schoultz concludes that American attempts to "uplift" Cuba and Cubans reflect arrogance and ultimately cross the line to ignorance, attitudes he terms delusional. One President after another has approached Cuba with the "parking lot mentality," the belief that the United States could decimate and destroy Cuba at any time. Utilizing an impressive variety of primary and secondary sources (with more than 150 pages of notes), he details Cuban-American relations administration by administration, from assassination attempts on Castro's life to messages displayed to the people at large, always returning to America's lack of respect for Cuban sovereignty and right to self-determination. Ultimately, he proffers advice for how U.S. policy should adapt. This impressive new book is highly recommended; after all, neither nation is going to be moving any time soon.
Prodigious research across many archives has produced a tour de force that will stand as the field's preeminent diplomatic history until the papers of the most recent U.S. presidents (and perhaps also of Cuba's leaders) become available sometime in the future.Latin American Research Review
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