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Reviews of Puerto Rico 1898: The War After the War

“Fernando Picó has made fundamental contributions to the history of Puerto Rico, from broad interpretive surveys to fine-grained studies of work, class, and politics in Utuado, a mountainous coffee district that underwent dramatic social and economic changes in the nineteenth century. … I recommend this book to several reading publics. For the scholar of the Caribbean and Latin America, Puerto Rico 1898 is a fine example of trends within Puerto Rican social and political history. It is also a concise depiction of one aspect of the transition of empires in 1898. In that sense, it should be of strong interest to historians of Spain, the United States, and other modern colonial regimes. Finally, while closely researched, this excellent translation is easily accessible to the nonspecialist. I myself would eagerly include it in undergraduate classes. Markus Wiener Publishers are to be congratulated for making available this important work, along with other first-rate works in Puerto Rican and Caribbean history.”
Hispanic American Historical Review

Review of the Spanish edition:
“In this book, Fernando Picó not only analyzes the nature of the violence that erupted in rural Puerto Rico following the island’s invasion by the United States on July 25, 1898, but also calls into question the interpretations of earlier scholars.

“Picó’s much more exhaustive study provides new evidence with which to revise those interpretations. He demonstrates that, for several months after the U.S. invasion, workers and peasant farmers of the interior of Puerto Rico attacked first the businesses and haciendas of the Spaniards and later those of the local Creoles.

” … In this as in his earlier works, Picó, following the method of the Annales school, has reconstructed a period of Puerto Rico’s history in splendid fashion. It should be of interest to social historians and students of Puerto Rican, Latin American, and U.S. history.”
— Olga Jimenez Wagenheim, Hispanic American Historical Review

“In this work, Fernando Picó tells the little-known story of the seditious activities that racked the Puerto Rican countryside during the first year of the U.S. military occupation of the island. Thanks to the recent translation by Sylvia Korwek and Psique Arana Guzman, this story is now available in English to a new audience. It warrants the attention.

” … Picó uses a variety of sources from both Puerto Rico and the United States that provide a great deal of depth to the work. The most extensive and impressive information is provided by court cases from archives on the island and from local newspapers. Useful insight is also gleaned from U.S. newspapers and the records of the military government obtained from the U.S. National Archives.

“One shortcoming that, at points, mars this valuable work is the presentation of some of the sources with only minimal comment. The volume of incidents that Picó musters to demonstrate his points is impressive, but more attention to the unifying narrative would help many readers to better understand the significance of each event. Several of the most revealing incidents are presented without much explanation, leaving readers with the task of drawing their own conclusions about their importance. The occasional lack of context can give rise to doubts regarding the significance of some of the events included: the connection to the wider pattern of rural unrest of several of the crimes reported by Picó is not clear, regardless of the fact that they were committed during the early months of the U.S. occupation. Some additional explanation would have avoided this uncertainty. Despite this minor flaw, those who are interested in the history of Puerto Rico, the Spanish-American War, or the expansion of U.S. power in the Caribbean will find Picó’s book to be an important resource, filled with rich detail of rural life in Puerto Rico at the critical time when the island passed from Spanish rule into the possession of the United States.”
New West Indian Guide