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The War of 1898: The United States and Cuba in History and Historiography
     

The War of 1898: The United States and Cuba in History and Historiography

by Louis A. Pérez
 

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A century after the Cuban war for independence was fought, Louis Perez examines the meaning of the war of 1898 as represented in one hundred years of American historical writing. Offering both a critique of the conventional historiography and an alternate history of the war informed by Cuban sources, Perez explores the assumptions that have shaped our understanding

Overview

A century after the Cuban war for independence was fought, Louis Perez examines the meaning of the war of 1898 as represented in one hundred years of American historical writing. Offering both a critique of the conventional historiography and an alternate history of the war informed by Cuban sources, Perez explores the assumptions that have shaped our understanding of the "Spanish-American War—a construct, he argues, that denies the Cubans' participation in their own struggle for liberation from Spanish rule.

Perez examines historical accounts of the destruction of the battleship Maine, the representation of public opinion as a precipitant of war, and the treatment of the military campaign in Cuba. Equally important, he shows how historical narratives have helped sustain notions of America's national purpose and policy, many of which were first articulated in 1898. Cuba insinuated itself into one of the most important chapters of U.S. history, and what happened on the island in the final decade of the nineteenth century—and the way in which what happened was subsequently represented—has had far-reaching implications, many of which continue to resonate today.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
A provocative reinterpretation that will undoubtedly influence subsequent writing about the war.

Latin American Research Review

We have indeed been well served both professionally and publicly by Pérez's critical reappraisal of 1898 and its significations.

The Americas

[A] probing and provocative critique of the North American historiographical treatment of the conflict.

Pacific Historical Review

[Draws] from his [Pérez's] vast and detailed knowledge of both primary and secondary sources.

Historian

Elegantly written and crammed with the ideas and insights of a master historian.

Latin American Studies

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807824375
Publisher:
The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date:
10/28/1998
Edition description:
1
Pages:
192
Product dimensions:
6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.85(d)
Lexile:
1420L (what's this?)

What People are Saying About This

John Seelye
[Pérez recounts] the extent to which historical studies of what he correctly calls the 'Spanish-Cuban-American war' of 1898 were influenced by contemporary US accounts. . . . [He] gives considerable space to the work of Cuban scholars, who insist that the US 'victory' was made possible only by the ongoing insurgency by rebels against Spanish rule, and that the self-proclaimed idealism of the American incursion was in fact a mask for intervention in and control of Cuban internal affairs.
Walter LaFeber
No serious student of the 1890's and after can ignore this book; it will have important implications for all those who study post-1895 US-Cuban relations.
From the Publisher
Perez has provided us with a brief, detailed recounting of the extent to which historical studies of what he correctly calls the 'Spanish-Cuban-American War' of 1898 were influenced by contemporary U.S. accounts of that conflict, which took credit for having brought freedom to the Cuban people. In correcting that bias, Perez gives considerable space to the work of Cuban scholars, who insist that the U.S. 'victory' was made possible only by the ongoing insurgency by rebels against Spanish rule, and that the self-proclaimed idealism of the American incursion was in fact a mask for intervention in and control of Cuban internal affairs. This is an impressive, enlightening survey and an important addition to the very long shelf of works inspired by this 'neglected' war.—John Seelye, University of Florida

Meet the Author

Louis A. Perez Jr. is J. Carlyle Sitterson Professor of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His books include Cuba: Between Reform and Revolution.

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