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Volume 64 / Humanities


JORGE CHINEA, Director, Center for Chicano-Boricua Studies, Wayne State University
EDWARD L. COX, Associate Professor of History, Rice University, Houston
JOHN D. GARRIGUS, Associate Professor of History, University of Texas at Arlington
JOSÉ M. HERNÁNDEZ, Professor Emeritus of History, Georgetown University
VALENTINA PEGUERO, Professor of History, University of Wisconsin, Stevens-Point


SCHOLARSHIP ON THE BRITISH CARIBBEAN continues to show considerable sophistication. During the past cycle, a number of excellent monographs appeared that indicate the vitality, vibrancy, and enhanced interest in the British Caribbean. Whether or not they constitute a trend is yet to be determined.

The activities and experiences of pirates and privateers have garnered some attention this cycle. Rediker's brilliantly conceived and excellently researched Villains of All Nations: Atlantic Pirates in the Golden Age (item #bi2006001045#) corrects some of the common myths that have become part of our standard conception of Caribbean pirates. He presents to us a motley crew that consisted of peoples of various backgrounds, gender, ethnicity, and class whose new world order was markedly different from the one they left behind on the merchant and sailing ships. In the new setting, they constructed their own egalitarian society and simultaneously triumphed in both contemporary and modern visions.

Slavery and various aspects of slave society are wonderfully treated in a number of highly significant monographs. Menard's Sweet Negotiations: Sugar, Slavery, and Plantation Agriculture in Early Barbados is a careful study of the transition to large-scale sugar cultivation in Barbados (item #bi2008003880#). Challenging previously held assumptions, he contends that the switch to slave labor and the emergence of large estates antedated the arrival of sugar cultivation on a large scale. Because the so-called revolution had therefore come much earlier, Menard considers it ill-advised to speak of a sugar revolution along the lines traditionally followed. But he asserts that the sugar plantation system was truly an integrated phenomenon in which various activities were concentrated in the hands of one individual. Higman's Plantation Jamaica, 1750–1850: Capital and Control in a Colonial Society is a painstaking, highly impressive study of attorneys and their functions and management styles in Jamaica (item #bi2007003412#). Concentrating on plantations run by Simon Taylor and Isaac Jackson in pre- and post- emancipation Jamaica respectively, Higman shows the vagaries of issues that affected their decisions, behavior, and management styles. More case studies would of necessity have to be done before we obtain a complete picture of this important group of plantation personnel in the British Caribbean. Finally, Matthews (Caribbean Slave Revolts and the British Abolitionist Movement) chronicles the impact of slave revolts and rumors of them on the activities of British abolitionists (HLAS 62:1166).

Urban history has benefited from the appearance of two superbly crafted works dealing with different aspects of the urban milieu in two colonies. Robertson's Gone is the Ancient Glory: Spanish Town, Jamaica, 1534–2000 (item #bi2007002141#) presents an impressive case study of a city—first carefully laid out by the Spaniards and later enhanced by the British to become an important cultural and economic hub—whose grandeur was suddenly halted by a 17th-century earthquake from which it never fully recovered. De Barros indicates the tensions in the urban space of Georgetown, British Guiana, where unequal access to wealth and disparities in power exposed both the joys and frustrations of urban life for different groups at the end of the 19th century (item #bi2008003879#).

Three monographs cover attempts to reorder society during the post-emancipation period. Whittington B. Johnson (item #bi2007001027#) shows how, eschewing racial categories and embracing nationalism, free blacks in the Bahamas successfully navigated the space available to them to improve their well being. Henry James Ross' Thoughts on the Objectionable System of Labour provides us with insights into sharecropping on a Grenada coffee and cocoa plantation, while simultaneously advocating its use as a total replacement for wage labor because of its potential benefits to all parties (item #bi2008003878#). Finally, Adderley examines the experiences of newly arrived "liberated" Africans in the period after slave trade abolition and their contributions to keeping alive African traditions in the Caribbean (item #bi2008003882#).

Women and gender studies continue to be a fruitful beneficiary of fine scholarship. Focusing a good bit of her attention on Barbados, Morgan's Laboring Women: Reproduction and Gender in New World Slavery (item #bi2006001738#) demonstrates that slave women were valuable to their slave owners both because of their physical labor and because of their reproductive capabilities. For her, the dualism of women's experiences as mothers and laborers helped define in profound ways their experiences in the Americas. Inniss presents a fascinatingly impressive portrait gallery of the impact of food shortages and natural disasters on slave children in Barbados, where mortality was always high amidst a generally self-perpetuating slave population as a whole (item #bi2008003702#).

Aspects of crime and punishment in the highly racialized societies that existed before and after emancipation are wonderfully treated by Paton's In No Bond But the Law: Punishment, Race, and Gender in Jamaican State Formation, 1780–1870 (item #bi2006001737#). She argues quite persuasively that corporal punishment continued to be an integral part of the social, cultural, and political landscape of post- emancipation Jamaica in which violence and white power reigned supreme just as had been the case before slave emancipation. Accordingly, both race and gender helped shape the decision-making in pre- and post-emancipation Jamaica.

Finally, two excellent monographs deserve special mention because of the broad net they cast and the additional light they shine over important aspects of British Caribbean history. Mulcahey's Hurricanes and Society in the British Greater Caribbean, 1624–1783 (see HLAS 62:1070) is a timely reminder of the influence of natural disasters in shaping the lives of Caribbean peoples. He compellingly treats the destructive consequences of hurricanes on Caribbean societies, and demonstrates the degree of regional and international cooperation that existed in handling relief efforts in the wake of their destruction. Yet this sophisticated study also shows how residents—both before and after Columbus—adjusted their house-building techniques and general lifestyles to better cope with the threat of the ever-seasonal menace. Smith's Caribbean Rum: A Social and Economic History (item #bi2006002065#) provides a broad treatment of the importance of rum in Caribbean trade and society from the 17th century to the present. He shows the trading networks that were built and linkages that existed between the Caribbean, North America, Europe, and Africa with respect to both rum production and consumption. The interdisciplinary approach employed by the author, coupled with the extended time period he covers, makes this a most important monograph for a commodity that was so central to Caribbean life and trade and yet whose importance is often taken for granted in scholarly studies of the Caribbean. [ELC]


In this period covering the bicentennial of Haitian independence, works on Saint-Domingue and the Haitian Revolution dominate the historiography. Part of this "anniversary" effect on the literature has to do with the production of special editions of scholarly journals, and the publication of papers from conferences held to mark and examine this momentous event. In France, a new level of public interest and controversy over colonial history and France's role in the transatlantic slave trade has also stimulated more research and publication. In the US, ongoing interest in "Atlantic," as opposed to nationalist, histories, has created greater recognition among scholars in Europe and the Americas of the importance of the Haitian Revolution.

The publication of primary documents for students and scholars has been an important trend in recent years. That slowed in this biennial period, but the appearance of Poliquen's edition of Chanvalon's Voyage à la Martinique, first published in 1761, is a notable event (item #bi2007002783#). Garraway describes her important book about early French Caribbean texts as addressing a lacuna in Francophone literary studies, whose scholars are far more interested in 20th century literature of the French Caribbean than in the texts produced in the era of slavery (item #bi2007002343#). Garraway focuses on the themes of violence and sexual desire, arguing that these were central to the formation of white Creole identity. Gautier's article on the family structures favored by enslaved people in Guadeloupe, Martinique, and Saint- Domingue, is written primarily to illuminate present-day debates about the distinctive family and marriage patterns in the Antilles (item #bi2008001153#).

Yet most recent publications on the French Caribbean before 1800 focus on the revolutionary period and its preconditions. Best known for her 1996 book on slavery in metropolitan France, Peabody published a valuable survey of missionary activity in the Antilles in the 17th and 18th centuries (item #bi2008001163#). She concludes that, despite flaws, these attempts to Christianize the slaves were an important influence on colonial society up to the 1760s. In particular, when planters and royal administrators removed the Jesuit order, she surmises, they eliminated a powerful force for the creolization at the very time that slave populations were becoming more African. Despite her excellent research, Peabody's article is not the final word on this issue, which begs for even more detailed attention, especially in church archives. Kawas François, S.J. delivers a useful collection of primary sources on the history of the Jesuit order in Saint-Domingue and then again in 20th century, following the tension between the order and the Duvalier government after their reinstallation in the country in 1953 (item #bi2007002775#).

Weaver's Medical Revolutionaries: The Enslaved Healers of Eighteenth-Century Saint Domingue is another survey of an important topic in colonial society, which she sees as a precondition of the Haitian Revolution (item #bi2006002144#). Weaver has scoured French archives and printed sources for evidence that slave veterinarians and healers led resistance that ultimately blossomed into the Haitian Revolution. In a similar vein, Jacques Cauna delivers a provocative survey of the evidence that Toussaint worked with white royalists to plan and launch the slave revolt of 1791 (item #bi2008001052#).

Because of the important role played by Toussaint and other free men of color in the Haitian Revolution, the study of Saint-Domingue's free population of color has received new attention. Garrigus' Before Haiti examines free people of color in the southern peninsula of the colony (item #bi2007002142#). Tracing the history of this class from 1760 to 1803, Garrigus describes how colonial authorities redefined the racial identity of wealthy free-born people of mixed ancestry before the revolution. The study then follows the economic and social history of this group through the Haitian Revolution, illustrating its emergence as the new local elite by 1803. Dominique Rogers has published a number of important articles drawn on her own major forthcoming study of Saint-Domingue's free people of color. In "Réussir dans un monde d'hommes," the most important of these, she examines the economic achievements and strategies of 450 free women of color in Cap Français, relying on the same kind of notarial records utilized by Garrigus and earlier by Stewart King (item #bi2008001166#).

The biennial period saw the publication of a number of journals and collected articles focused on the Revolution in Guadeloupe and Saint-Domingue. In observing the bicentennial of slavery's reinstallation in Guadeloupe in 1802, the historical society of that island produced a small volume with essays including Frédéric Regent's detailed examination of the social background of the Guadeloupe rebels. The essay provides new evidence on the social identity of these men (item #bi2008001164#). Similarly in 2004, Martinique's departmental archives published a slim but useful volume summarizing recent scholarly approaches to the work of Moreau de Saint-Méry, a white Creole from that island who for more than 200 years has been the primary source of information about pre-revolutionary Saint-Domingue (items #bi2008000960#, #bi2008001151#, #bi2008001154#, and #bi2008001167#).

Informed by recent scholarship but directed more at an educated popular audience, a new biography of Toussaint Louverture appeared in 2006 that has been widely hailed as the best study of its kind in English (item #bi2007002789#). Its author, the novelist Madison Smartt Bell, has been writing about Louverture for over a decade in a well-received and well-researched trilogy of historical novels on the Haitian Revolution. More than any biographer to date, he captures Toussaint's ability to stand between colonial planters and enslaved African workers and convince members of each group that he was committed to defending their interests.

For about two decades David Geggus has been the leading student of the Haitian Revolution, its effects and preconditions. His 2006 article, "The Arming of Slaves during the Haitian Revolution," synthesizes the history of this critical dimension of the period (item #bi2008001155#). Laurent Dubois, the other leading figure in the field in recent years, has published a number of articles, many of them explicating or extending points made in his Avengers of the New World and Colony of Citizens (see HLAS 62:1089 and 1090). Perhaps the most important of these is "An Enslaved Enlightenment," in which he argues that Saint- Domingue's revolutionaries should be seen as participants in the Enlightenment, not merely as beneficiaries or victims of these new European ideas (item #bi2008001058#). Macé and Gainot draw attention to the psychological reasons behind the Haitian victory over French troops in 1802 (item #bi2008001162#), reaching many of the same conclusions as Philippe Girard's recent article.

The biennial saw a number of important publications on the impact of the Haitian Revolution on the wider world. Léo Elisabeth produced a closely documented study of how colonial administrators in the Lesser Antilles reacted to rumors of Haitian plots against their islands (item #bi2008001752#). Gómez plumbs both French and Venezuelan archives for his detailed examination of Venezuela's reaction to the Haitian Revolution (item #bi2008001159#), and Geggus examines all of Latin America from the same perspective (item # bi2008002379#). White examines how events in Haiti shaped the attitudes of US slaveowners (item #bi2008001252#). The biennial saw the publication of two contrasting but equally valuable books on US-Haitian relations in the era of the revolution. Matthewson sets US policy towards Haiti into the context of American racial law and attitudes (item #bi2007002793#) while Brown follows the debates in Congress and the US administration on how the new nation should respond to the growing rift between Toussaint Louverture and French authorities (item #bi2007002788#). The privateers of revolutionary Guadeloupe were an important element of the tension between the US and France in the 1790s. Rodigneaux's Guerre de course en Guadeloupe uses new documents from US archives to examine how these attacks affected the history of this period, including the Louisiana Purchase (item #bi2007002785#).

As has often been the case, the 19th and 20eth centuries have received less extensive examination but some important work was published in the biennial period. A strong set of new articles by Savage examines the legal history of Martinique inn the years after the Restoration (items #bi2008001169# and #bi2008001170#). Delisle examines anti-clericalism in 19th-century Martinique and Guadeloupe and concludes that this was imported from France in the Third Republic (item #bi2007002786#). Gastaud examines the Church-sponsored scouting movement over the course of the 20th century to chart the rise of public interest in Creole culture and identity (item #bi2007002473#). [JDG]


So far this millennium we have seen a growing interest in the early Spanish colonial period of Puerto Rico, as exemplified by the previously annotated works by Báiz (2000), de Jesús Rodríguez (2002), Medrano (2004), and Sued Badillo (2001). To them, we now add the essay by Díaz (item #bi2004002239#) on gold prospecting during the administration of the adelantado Juan Ponce de León (c. 1509–21), which confirms the centrality of mineral exploitation to the early Iberian colonizing project and its complicity with the enslavement and near extinction of the native inhabitants. At the end of this short-lived mining boom, Puerto Rico was relegated to a marginal place in the Hispanic American economy. Stark's article (item #bi2007000058#) explores how the liturgical calendar, holidays, and type of economic activity impacted the consecration of marriages among African captives in a socioeconomic environment not yet fully dominated by the plantation system.

The winds of change began to blow slowly but noticeably in the 18th century in the form of a series of imperial revitalizing measures known to scholars as the Bourbon reforms. Santamaría García (item #bi2007004129#) probes the institutional and global forces that shaped the particular directions that Cuba and Puerto Rico followed as exporters of tropical products, especially sugar. He argues that the metropolitan initiatives accelerated a shift towards sugar production in Cuba that had been well on its way. Thereafter, the better capitalized Cuban plantations adopted important innovations, especially steam engines and railroads, and continued to import African captives in great numbers after the legal abolition of the slave trade. This was not the case in Puerto Rico, whose 18th-century economy revolved mainly around cattle ranching, subsistence farming, and illegal trade. In comparison to their Cuban counterparts, Puerto Rican estates lagged behind technologically, imported fewer African bondsmen and women, and tried unsuccessfully to transform the peasantry into a servile agricultural labor force. It is not surprising then, that systematic efforts to improve or build communication systems in Puerto Rico—a necessary adjunct to economic growth—date from the second half of the 19th century (item #bi2007002830#).

The previously noted differences between commercial sugar production in Cuba and Puerto Rico have persuaded some investigators to posit the existence of two more or less distinct socioeconomic systems within the Hispanic Caribbean. One, in the case of Cuba, was marked by the invasive rise of vast ingenios ruled by profit-minded, despotic planters who cared little or not at all about their captive labor force. The other, in the case of Puerto Rico, was characterized by scattered plantation enclaves that shared many of the features of the Cuban model mainly in the extensively exploited sugar-growing coastal districts, such as Ponce, Guayama, and Mayagüez. Questioning this assumption, Dorsey (item #bi2008001254#) shows that traffickers in Puerto Rico participated more intensely and just as long in the slave trade in West Africa and the eastern Antilles than previously reported. Along a similar vein, Chinea (item #bi2006001708#) traces the social and working experiences of West Indians in Puerto Rico who filled a variety of jobs typically assigned to slaves and free blacks directly or indirectly tied to the agro-exporting boom.

Dungy (item #bi2007000056#), on the other hand, argues that the island offered nonwhites a wealth of opportunities unmatched elsewhere in the non-Hispanic Caribbean. She profiles a handful of native and immigrant free coloreds who had attained some measure of economic success in Patillas, Aguadilla, and Cabo Rojo, where mixed economies prevailed. Conditions were immensely harsher for their peers in the plantation-controlled regions during the heyday of slavery and in the post-emancipation years, as documented by the works of Figueroa (item #bi2005005994#) and Rodríguez (item #bi2007000536#). Without negating the tyrannical milieu, both authors show that enslaved and libertos/as developed survival strategies to counter the oppressive system that sought to keep them "in their place." Carrasquillo (item #bi2006000515#) suggests that exslaves, poor people, and peasants faced challenges to survival not just in the coastal plantation belt, but also on the interior quarters. She reports on their creative efforts to stay alive despite the privatization of land in Caguas and state efforts to coerce them to work, curb their mobility, and impose a gendered, Eurocentric value system during the interval 1880–1910.

Besides Amerindians, peasants, planters, African captives, and free blacks, Puerto Rican scholarship for the Spanish colonial period registers the voices of Creoles as well. Echoing the work of Scarano (1996) and Cañizares- Esguerra (2001), a chapter in Schmidt-Nowara's book (item #bi2007002668#), titled "The Problem of Prehistory in Puerto Rico and Cuba," explores how 19th-century Creoles reevaluated and revalued the Amerindian legacy of both colonies to advance their own nation-building claims. He maintains that Creoles saw in "prehistory"—understood as the precolumbian era—a physical space with its own distinctive past separate from the Iberians' colonial construction. But the literary exercise alone could not bring back the idealized Taino/Ciboney world envisioned in their writings. It had long been replaced by a stratified colonial social order ruled over by status-conscious, covetous peninsulares. Moreover, after 1800 Puerto Rico's population also took in (besides the aforementioned groups) a new influx of non-Hispanic Europeans and West Indians (item #bi2006001708#), which generated immeasurable opportunities and measurable tensions. In 1868, discontent with the Spanish colonial system erupted into violence in what became known as "El Grito de Lares." For Moscoso (item #bi2008001256#) the armed conflict was the predictable culmination of a long struggle for national affirmation.

US, French, and British consuls stationed on the island around this time looked over the interests of some of these foreigners (item #bi2008001255#). As could be expected, their observations were colored by their privileged positions and national biases. In addition to compiling facts and figures bearing on the mercantile affairs affecting their respective countries, the officials commented extensively on such matters as geopolitical issues, laboring conditions, cultural manifestations, immigration, colonial reforms, electoral laws, military movements, insurrections, forced loans, political repression, emancipation, self-rule, and censorship, among others. These developments, which typically interlaced questions of class, ethnicity, religion, morality, race, and gender invariably sparked friction or erupted into violence. Cubano's (item #bi2007001878#) research on some of the everyday physical, interpersonal conflicts adjudicated in the local tribunals illuminates the colonial social fabric and the legal strings that stitched it together.

The US impact on Puerto Rico continues to draw the attention of writers from a diversity of academic disciplines, walks of life, and political persuasions. Unlike studies stressing the importance of economic exploitation, territorial encroachment, and social Darwinism, Briggs (item #bi2007000532#) focuses on the management of prostitutes and the promotion of nuclear families. According to the author, containing and sanitizing the former and encouraging the latter laid the groundwork for the imposition of notions of domesticity. In this interpretation, medicine, public health, and social work become tools of social control at the service of imperial planners. Amador de Jesús (item #bi2005004313#) examines plena, an African-derived music that attained wide popularity for its ability to capture the living and working conditions of the Puerto Rican masses that neither the government nor the public media wished to address. It was also the subject of discussion by the island's lettered elite, many of whom worried about its plebian "excesses" and "immoral" qualities. Flores Collazo (item #bi2007002835#) tracks the political manipulation of the July 4 and July 25 celebrations by both supporters and detractors of US control of the island. On a different note, Ayala (item #bi2002000782#) and Ayala and Bolívar (item #bi2008001253#) trace the socioeconomic impact of the US navy's post-1940 expropriation of vast tracks of land in the offshore island-municipality of Vieques.

The Great Depression's negative impact on Puerto Rico, as evidenced by massive unemployment, labor agitation, and widespread poverty is well known. By contrast, nongovernmental, native efforts to cope with the economic crisis are seldom discussed in the historical literature. While not alluding directly to this capitalist downturn, the two essays by Sievens Irizarry point to the emergence of grassroots self-help and benevolent institutions around that time. His attempt to outline in broad strokes the orphanage for children in Ponce founded in 1931 (item #bi2004002238#) and the mutual aid society of Guayanilla founded in 1933 (item #bi2005004572#) brings up topics deserving of further exploration.

Finally, a stream of books and articles addresses institutions or political personalities who have had major roles in backing or opposing Puerto Rico's colonial status under the US. Baralt (item #bi2007002834#) chronicles the evolution of Puerto Rico's highest court, the Tribunal Supremo, highlighting how US colonial prerogatives have impacted a number of landmark cases since its creation in 1899. Rodríguez Vázquez (item #bi2007002831#) compares the representations of the island and its people in the texts and speeches of essayist Antonio S. Pedreira, nationalist leader Pedro Albizu Campos, and statesman Luis Muñóz Marín. The work edited by Acevedo (item #bi2007002829#) focuses on the life and work of Jesús T. Piñero, who served as the first native governor from 1946–48. Barreto Velásquez (item #bi2007002833#) argues that Columbia University economics professor-turned governor of Puerto Rico, Rexford G. Tugwel, was one of the chief architects and supporters of the reformist program championed by t he Popular Democratic Party. The pro-independence leanings of Vicente Géigel Polanco, one of the key members of the latter political organization, are discussed by Duprey Salgado (item #bi2007002825#). The same author compiles the transcribed taped recollections of the political careers of former governors Luis Muñóz Marín and Roberto Sánchez Vilella (item #bi2007002828#). López Rojas (item #bi2007002832#) scrutinizes the periodical literature in a pedestrian attempt to link organized crime activity in Puerto Rico between 1940–72 to the Popular Democratic Party that was in power for much of that time.

In closing, historical production on any subject or period is revitalized whenever new sources, methodologies, and interpretive tools come to light. In the 1970s and 1980s, la nueva historia did away with the exaggerated importance accorded to institutional forces, political themes, and influential figures of the past. It recontextualized the past by factoring in previously neglected or underutilized social and economic data to uncover the living and working experiences of historically marginalized groups. Today, Pabón (item #bi2008001257#) adds a new twist to this ongoing quest for understanding what happened to whom, when, why, and how. His edited collection of essays, fittingly titled, "El pasado ya no es lo que era" ("The past is not what it used to be"), takes historians to task by challenging them to consider the methodological and historiographical implications of postmodernist theory for the (re)interpretation of Puerto Rico's past. [JC]


This biennium nearly 100 items about Cuban history have been reviewed: 70 books and 29 articles. Most were published in the US, Spain, and Cuba, although scholarly interest in Cuban history also manifested itself in Brazil and Mexico. Four articles appeared in Brazilian journals and five were produced in Mexico.

The studies are, however, of uneven quality, and as a result only about half were regarded as deserving comment. Some of them are clearly tendentious; others belong into that mass of hagiographic literature that has transformed Che Guevara into a martyr of social justice; yet others are simply mediocre works that contribute very little to our knowledge or deal exhaustively with topics of scarce interest to most people.

Among the articles, however, two or three that stand out, such as Philippe Zacaïr's study of what he calls the Caribbeanness of Antonio Maceo, the black Cuban independence hero (item #bi2007000055#), and Mary Speck's discussion of Cuban enterprise during the early republic (item #bi2006000949#). Javier Corrales' analysis of the very limited economic reforms introduced by the Cuban regime in 1989–2002 (item #bi2005002876#) is also noteworthy.

There are a number of books too, that are valuable contributions of well-established scholars such as Inés Roldán de Montaud's investigation of banking in the late colonial period (item #bi2007002740#), Fe Iglesias' exploration of the economy during the same period (item #bi2007002739#), and Carmen Barcia's two studies of Cuban society (items #bi2007002643# and #bi2007002639#). Francisco Pérez Guzmán's radiograph of the Cuban Liberating Army (1895–98) should be also singled out as a great book (item #bi2007002712#), and Leida Fernández Prieto's debunking work on Cuba's agriculture (item #bi2007002703#) belongs into the same category.

Finally, three books will remain at the top of the list of significant works on Cuba for some time to come: Frank Argote-Freyre's biography of dictator's Fulgencio Batista (item #bi2008000953#); John Lawrence Tone's narrative of the 1895 Cuban War of Independence (item #bi2006000471#); and Antonio de la Cova's version of the Moncada attack, the birth of the Castro revolution (item #bi2008000952#). The latter book is very close to a definitive study of the event. [JMH]


The historical bibliography on the Dominican Republic continues to show a healthy and steady growth. Bibliographical works are multidisciplinary, dealing with art, culture, environment, ethnicity, history, literature, migration, politics and other relevant issues. Some books are more substantive than others. But regardless of the relative importance of the books, the variety of the content fills several gaps.

Examination of materials reveals that two major trends characterize recent Dominican historical scholarship. The first is a comparative analysis contrasting countries and personalities. Francisco Rodríguez de León's Trujillo y Balaguer (item #bi2007002282#), Alonso Vazquez's La alianza de dos generalísimos: Relaciones diplomáticas Franco-Trujillo (item #bi2007002288#), and Fernando Carrera Montero's Las complejas relaciones de España con la Española (item #bi2007002281#) represent this trend. The second trend involves selection of visual materials, mainly painting and photography, to portray vivid images of historical development. Within this category, Marcelo Bermúdez (item #bi2007002280#), Bernard Diederich (item #bi2005000664#), Fidelio Despradel (item #bi2007002294#), and Piero Espinal Estévez (item #bi2005000655#) use the camera as an effective witness to document history. Pictorial materials are the cores of Danilo de los Santos and Myrna Guerrero's works (items #bi2008001351# and #bi2008000736#). These modalities contribute to a better understanding of the subject matter.

The controversial roles played by the Catholic Church and the state in colonial time continue to attract attention. Among recent publications, the monograph by Francisco Rodríguez Souquet (item #bi2007002284#) is worth noting. In terms of linking colonial and postcolonial legal procedures and historical events, Wenceslao Vega's Historia del derecho dominicano offers a good insight into the historical complexities of the legal system (item #bi2008000746#).

Ranging from historical to fictional accounts, the study of leading political figures has been an interesting and productive field for writers. Because of the peculiarity of their regimes, two of these leaders, Ulises Hereaux (Lilís) and Rafael Trujillo, stand out. Machiavellians and charismatics, these figures have generated considerable interdisciplinary study such as Juan Vicente Flores' Lilí: el sanguinario machetero dominicano (item #bi2007002292#), Fernando Infante's Trujillo: aproximación al hombre y su tiempo (item #bi2005000661#) and Amaury Justo Duarte's Auge y caída de los trujillistas, 1955–1962 (item #bi2007002289#).

Supporting Bill Hesseltime's phrase that "All history is local history" a substantial number of works are dedicated to the study of provincial and local history. Among other publications, the works of Margarita Noboa Warden (item #bi2005000653#) and Germán Camarena (item #bi2005000668#) focus on the northern province of Puerto Plata, which plays an important role in the development of the tourism industry as well as in mining and marketing of amber products. Both Noboa Warden and Camarena highlight the attractive Victorian architectural style of the city and the relevance of political figures. Similarly, sureños (southern authors) examine the contribution of their region from cultural, political and socioeconomic perspectives as noticed by Ricardo Vega (item #bi2005000659#) and Oscar López Reyes (item #bi2005000658#) in their studies about Hato Mayor and Barahona respectively. Other towns such as Constanza, Higuey, Samana, Salcedo and San Jose de las Matas also receive attention.

The sociohistorical studies of Juan Bosch (item #bi2005000662#), Pedro Mir (item #bi2005000670#) and Pedro San Miguel (item #bi2005000666#) dealing with poverty and socioeconomic struggle in rural areas, as well as the ethnohistorical research by Eugenio Matibag (item #bi2005000652#) analyzing the controversial issues of race and the Dominican-Haitian relations, offer fresh reappraisals of socioeconomic conditions and racial relations. In particular, Mir's study breaks new ground with his contention that poverty is a constant of Dominican history but that hunger is a relatively recent phenomenon. In addition, historians have been venturing into the realm of popular culture and vernacular expressions to analyze the formation of the Dominican state and explore the development of state-society relations during the 19th and 20th centuries. The notable contributions of José Miguel Soto Jiménez illustrate this pattern (items #bi2008000702# and #bi2008000707#).

Responding to the global current of migration movements, Orlando Inoa's interesting work on Afro-Caribbean immigrants, known as cocolos (item #bi2008000741#), and a collection of articles derived from a conference on Spanish emigration to the Caribbean at the end of the 19th century (item #bi2007002751#) analyze the impact of modern immigration and race and ethnicity in present Dominican society.

In general, findings offer a broad perspective revealing the diverse interest of the authors. Responding to the cutting-edge goals of dissemination of electronic information and global sharing of historical sources, many of the books included in this section are not only useful for specialists but also for the general public. [VP]

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