Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Cuba: An American History (Ada Ferrer)

Cuba’s history - and that of the United States - intertwine closely despite the two nations having vastly different experiences as colonies and nations. Cuba: An American History, is Ada Ferrer’s account of the intimate to distant relationship the two countries have had over the centuries.

Ferrer’s well-researched book documents the influence that the United States has had over Cuba from before the United States declared its own independence up through the present day, helping scuttle revolutions and political movements, sometimes trying to annex Cuba, often influencing its politics and its domestic affairs up until Fidel Castro took power in 1959. Ferrer’s account weaves a narrative that Cuba’s story is as much a struggle for its own voice as it is about its complicated relationship with its much larger neighbor (the United States).

Covering five centuries of a geopolitical relationship is not an easy task. Details may get missed or omitted - such as Radio Marti’s attempts to broadcast to the Cuban masses and Cuba’s jamming of radio signals from overseas or the Elian Gonzalez story in the late 1990’s. However, Cuba: An American History is a well-rounded, well-researched look at two countries who share a lot more in common than their leaders sometimes care to admit and how one neighbor’s dominance in that relationship has very much influenced the behavior of the other.