Deftly and without fanfare, Ferrer upends the 1898 narrative of the United States as Cuba’s savior with an episode from 1781, just prior to the Battle of Yorktown ... There is abundant horror on view in these pages, but all are composed with compassionate eloquence. Ferrer’s history of Cuba is the history of her own life, writ large ... Ferrer’s book, which may be the first general overview of Cuban history written by a woman, spends no time on denunciation—no small feat in a historical context where denunciation has been the order of the day for many decades. Instead, it is primarily concerned with demonstrating just how deeply and intricately enmeshed the histories of Cuba and the United States are. In overflowing, revelatory, and loving detail, Ferrer charts the living, human connections between two nations whose long symbiosis...continually survives each one’s efforts to cut off ties to the other.
Ferrer turns to the island story, packing five centuries into concise chapters brimming with vivid detail and terrific page-turning momentum ... Fidel Castro, mercifully, doesn’t enter Ferrer’s story until about halfway through the book. There is, of course, no telling the history of modern Cuba – or indeed, the modern US – without him. But he can take up all the oxygen ... Ferrer recounts his rise while balancing it with the larger social forces he was able to harness.
Ferrer’s retelling of these wars’ events from an updated, more nuanced perspective will bring a fresh view to history you thought you already knew. The narrative is often simplified as 'the United States saved Cuba,' but Ferrer’s look at the Spanish-American War frames it as the point at which relations between the two countries finally began to sour ... Organized into 12 parts and accompanied by stunning historical photographs and illustrations, Cuba covers more than five centuries of complicated and dynamic history. Although much of the book covers the upheaval and chaos of the 20th century, Ferrer is an exceptionally thorough guide of the 15th century onward, careful to keep her readers’ attention with interesting characters, new insights on historical events and dramatic yet accessible writing. This new history of Cuba shows how connected all of our countries’ histories really are.