On Becoming Cuban: Identity, Nationality, and Culture

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9780807824870: On Becoming Cuban: Identity, Nationality, and Culture

With this masterful work, Louis A. P?rez Jr. will transform the way we view Cuba and its relationship with the United States. On Becoming Cuban is a sweeping cultural history of the sustained encounter between the peoples of the two countries and of the ways that this encounter helped shape Cubans' identity, nationality, and sense of modernity from the early 1850s until the revolution of 1959.

Using an enormous range of Cuban and U.S. sources from archival records and oral interviews to popular magazines, novels, and motion pictures P?rez reveals a powerful web of everyday, bilateral connections between the United States and Cuba and shows how U.S. cultural forms had a critical influence on the development of Cubans' sense of themselves as a people and as a nation. He also articulates the cultural context for the revolution that erupted in Cuba in 1959. In the middle of the twentieth century, P?rez argues, when economic hard times and political crises combined to make Cubans painfully aware that their American-influenced expectations of prosperity and modernity would not be realized, the stage was set for revolution.

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Book Description:

"Perez is one of the pioneers who tenaciously continued to work on Cuba despite the obstacles posed by both Washington and Havana. On Becoming Cuban is a roving exploration of the formation of the Cuban national character from the early 1800's to 1961. Touching on everything from tourism to baseball to the rumba and the mambo to 'I Love Lucy' and 'The Godfather, Part II,' Mr. Perez argues that much of the modern Cuban identity was shaped by contact with the United States."-- New York Times

From the Inside Flap:

Explores the rich cultural ties between Cuba and the United States and reveals their startling influence on the way Cubans see themselves as a people and as a nation. 'In a sweeping multilayered history, P?rez explores the intertwined lives of Cubans and Americans from the late nineteenth century to the 1950s to show how deeply each nation influenced the other. Using an array of sources, from music to oral history to popular magazines and movies, he provides a convincing and kaleidoscopic interpretation filled with colorful personalities. He concludes with a brilliant discussion of the cultural context for Castro·s uprising.

Foreign Affairs

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Louis A. Perez, Jr.
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