Battleship Vieques: Puerto Rico from World War II to the Korean War

Outstanding Book of the Year, Choice Magazine

The demonstrations that resulted in the U.S. Navy’s being forced out of Vieques in 2003 were the result of the island’s occupation during and after World War II. After German U-boats sank more ships in the Caribbean than anywhere else, the U.S. government decided to transform the island of Vieques into an unsinkable battleship. The Navy thereby ignored the cultural traditions of the Puerto Rican population, introduced racial discrimination, forced the relocation of its population, and showed no concern for the local economy, which was ruined by the occupation.

“In Battleship Vieques, Ayala and Bolívar have produced a study rich in detail and nuanced with all the complexities of colonialism, militarism, and social change, and it deserves careful reading and analysis.”
— Professor Déborah Berman Santana, Mills College, Centro Journal

“Ayala (UCLA) is one of the rising stars in Puerto Rican studies, and Battleship Vieques is an excellent and important addition to his growing body of work…”
— Choice Magazine



César J. Ayala is professor of sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is the author of three books.

José L. Bolívar is an independent scholar and the author of several articles on Caribbean history. His website can be found here.