The powerful, untold story of the 1950 revolution in Puerto Rico and the long history of U.S. intervention on the island, that the New York Times says "could not be more timely."
In 1950, after over fifty years of military occupation and colonial rule, the Nationalist Party of Puerto Rico staged an unsuccessful armed insurrection against the United States. Violence swept through the island: assassins were sent to kill President Harry Truman, gunfights roared in eight towns, police stations and post offices were burned down. In order to suppress this uprising, the US Army deployed thousands of troops and bombarded two towns, marking the first time in history that the US government bombed its own citizens.
Nelson A. Denis tells this powerful story through the controversial life of Pedro Albizu Campos, who served as the president of the Nationalist Party. A lawyer, chemical engineer, and the first Puerto Rican to graduate from Harvard Law School, Albizu Campos was imprisoned for twenty-five years and died under mysterious circumstances. By tracing his life and death, Denis shows how the journey of Albizu Campos is part of a larger story of Puerto Rico and US colonialism.
Through oral histories, personal interviews, eyewitness accounts, congressional testimony, and recently declassified FBI files, War Against All Puerto Ricans tells the story of a forgotten revolution and its context in Puerto Rico's history, from the US invasion in 1898 to the modern-day struggle for self-determination. Denis provides an unflinching account of the gunfights, prison riots, political intrigue, FBI and CIA covert activity, and mass hysteria that accompanied this tumultuous period in Puerto Rican history.
Denis, former editorial director of Spanish-language daily newspaper El Diario, reveals the true face of American imperialism in its own backyard through the history of military occupation, economic exploitation, and weak leadership that led to the October 1950 armed revolt in the Puerto Rican towns of Jayuya and Utuado. He shares the stories of young revolutionaries, federal agents, corrupt governors, and Pedro Albizu Campos, a man born into the lowest social tier who would become the president of the Nationalist Party of Puerto Rico. Characters such as Waller Booth, an undercover agent for the OSS (the precursor to the CIA) known by locals only as the proprietor of a nameless nightclub, take on weight through Denis's firm grip on narrative and attention to detail. Structurally, however, the book is weakly organized into three parts: Facts, People and Places. Forgoing a straight chronology, the anecdotes of minor and major players are often padded with points that are repeatedly explained. Nonetheless, Denis's meticulous research reveals an often overlooked element of American history and provides context to the current status of Puerto Rico as a U.S. territory. Photos.
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This is a must read and should be part of the curriculum in the high schools on the island. Wishful thinking. Who wants to read facts.....
Insightful, Eye opening, Inspiring
If you have any connection to Puerto Rico, this is worth reading. Filled with facts, references, sources, dates, hard numbers, historical accounts, and truth.