The Caribbean

The Caribbean : The Genesis of a Fragmented Nationalism

3.53 (30 ratings by Goodreads)
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Explores the common social pattern that has emerged from the various governments, languages, peoples, and beliefs and values that form the history of the Caribbean areashow more

Product details

  • Paperback | 266 pages
  • 139.7 x 210.82 x 17.78mm | 498.95g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • tables, maps
  • 0195022424
  • 9780195022421

Review Text

Author of a highly praised monograph, Slave Society in Nineteenth Century Cuba, Knight (History, Johns Hopkins) here attempts a synthesis of the entire range of Caribbean history from the pre-Columbian period to the present. Although the difficulty of covering so much time and territory in a narrow compass is illustrated by frequent resort to the phrase "with the exception of," this work incorporates more recent research than other brief surveys, and is a useful introduction to the socio-political development of the region. The author convincingly describes how Caribbean countries, colonized by diverse European powers, shared common patterns of development - differences between islands depending less on national characteristics than on the effects of the international market for sugar and tropical commodities upon interrelated factors of labor supply, race, and silvery. More questionably, Knight argues that, even today, the commonality of West Indian experience amounts to a kind of nationhood fragmented by political jurisdictions and linguistic diversity. He views Cuba's social revolution optimistically, as a step forward and a possible example to other islands trying to break with a common heritage of mass poverty; but had he applied to Cuba some of the criteria by which he judged Puerto Rico - income below the poorest state of the Union, homes deemed substandard by the US Census Bureau - Cuba's revolutionary gleam would not shine quite so brightly. Not a polemic but a scholar's summing up of a complex subject, this is a book which will reward a judicious reader. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Rating details

30 ratings
3.53 out of 5 stars
5 7% (2)
4 53% (16)
3 30% (9)
2 7% (2)
1 3% (1)
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