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History of Puerto Rico: A Panorama Of Its People Paperback – December 1, 2005


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Product Details

  • Series: A Panorama of its People
  • Paperback: 351 pages
  • Publisher: Markus Wiener Publishers; 1ST edition (December 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1558763716
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558763715
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.8 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #596,946 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"An intelligent and up-to-date work." -- Annales<br /><br />"Superbly synthesized" -- Hispanic American Historical Review<br /><br />" Essentially, this is an updated and expanded version of the second edition of the brilliant work published in Spanish in 1986...Like all excellent histories of the Caribbean, this one is inordinately rich on the social aspects of community formation and the inevitable cross-imperial relations that invariably frustrated local administrators -- Choice Magazine<br /><br />"An intelligent and up-to-date work."- -- Annales<br /><br />"Superbly synthesized" -- Hispanic American Historical Review<br /><br />HISPAPANIC AMERICAN HISTORICAL REVIEW vol 88.no. 4 2008 "Since 1986 students of Puerto Rican history have benefited from several editions of Fer-nando Pico's Historia general de Puerto Rico, which now appears in a welcome English version, updated and translated by the author. Simultaneously, Ediciones Huracan in San Juan has released a new Spanish edition under the original title. Pico is a leading historian of the island, having worked with primary sources and published on various topics and time periods; his knowledge of Puerto Rican historiography is broad and deep. The book is especially recommended for the general public and for use as a core text in undergraduate surveys of Puerto Rican history. As the subtitle in English implies, the Puerto Rican people, in all their diversity, are placed at the center of Pico's analysis, and he argues that the processes they initiated "are more important than the decisions made by the ruling figures of the North Atlantic" (p. xi), at least in the long term. While Pico gives consistent attention to the initiatives and impacts of nonelites, it is clear that at times these were swamped -- though never anni-hilated--by those of foreign capital and governments. A second goal is to "address the claims made by" four currents of Puerto Rican historiography--great men/moralistic, institutional, and social/economic studies, and studies of "historians' own ambivalent practices" (p. viii)--which Pico accomplishes implicitly for the most part, even in the footnotes. Pico is unfailingly polite and jargon-free even when openly disputative. He chides the Taino roots movement gently for contributing to the marginalization of Afri-can heritage in Puerto Rico, courteously demolishes the notion that either the Bourbons or municipal authorities had much control on the ground in the eighteenth century, and casts doubt on the argument that a separate Creole bourgeoisie took clear form by the end of the iSoos. The most impassioned section of the book is the final few pages, which constitute a moving call to celebrate Puerto Rican diversity, achievements, and commit-ment to education and social justice. The narrative achieves a very readable synthesis of much of the progress in Puerto Rican historiography as a whole, incorporating political, diplomatic, and military his¬tory with social, economic, and to some extent cultural history, and beginning with a brief chapter sketching the geological zones and ecosystems of the island. The select bibliography lists several dozen secondary sources published since the first Spanish edi¬tion of 1986, and a brief hunt through the notes, particularly for the last two chapters on recent history, reveals more. Pico often begins chapters by placing Puerto Rico in relevant broader contexts such as the early modern Atlantic World or the expanding United States hemispheric hegemony in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Organized chronologically, the book offers a quite even coverage of the four main periods (1510-17605, 17605-18205, 18205-18905, since 1898), --Hispanic American Historical Review

About the Author

Fernando Pico , University of Puerto Rico is author of several books including "Puerto Rico 1898: the War after the War"

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Customer Reviews

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Reviewer on August 10, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Essentially, this is an updated and expanded version of the second edition of the brilliant work published in Spanish in 1986. As with his other publications, Pico demonstrates why he ranks among the most magisterial historians of Puerto Rico. The 16 chapters are arrestingly readable and cover the complex history of Puerto Rico with commendable verbal economy. Pico impressively contextualizes the story by consistently placing Puerto Rico in the wider Caribbean, Atlantic, and Hispanic worlds, and does an excellent job with the main outlines of the local history. The book starts with the geological formation of the island; continues chronologically with a description of the first settlers, their conquest and virtual annihilation; and details the Spanish society and economy constructed after 1493. Like all excellent histories of the Caribbean, this one is inordinately rich on the social aspects of community formation and the inevitable cross-imperial relations that invariably frustrated local administrators.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By David Landt on September 9, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Having read a lot of general history from Europe to South America to the Middle East, you come to really appreciate someone who can write like a person. Professor Pico, without taking anything from the historical record, manages to write from a perspective of "our" history, and frequently uses that possessive along with the word "we", giving a very involved and intimate feel to the chronology.

Writign history is by nature to at teimes write about some of the dullest, but necessary data in the world. Only a seasoned and talented writer like Professor Pico can actually make the transition from one main crop to another interesting. Never before have I encountered a historian so talented as a writer that he can actually use imagery like a farmer lying in his hammock smoking part of his new crop of tobacco.

Some of the best written parts of this book are; the attempted English invasions, described in crisp detail; the radical movements of the 1960s (although he somehow never mentions the FALN by name);, and the reforms of the semi-enlightened Spanish despot, Pezuela.

I do wish there had been more maps in the book, but this is the only downfall. It can be frustrating to read about places and not be able to know where they are.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Battleship on September 26, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Fernando Pico wrote an informative history of Puerto Rico. This book is especially strong in offering detailed analysis of the Amerindian foundations of the Caribbean island, the devastating impact of the European takeover, the contributions of various immigrant groups to the island, and the sad reality of the slave trade.

Pico is a clear communicator who gave detailed coverage of the trade patterns, pirate activity, developement of agriculture, demographic trends, and burgeoning industrial production of the island's residents. Pico provides helpful data in charts and graphs. I would have liked to see more maps as I feel that I did not learn much about the geographical and topographical diversity of the Caribbean nation.

One of the highlights of the book is Pico's interpretation of the Spanish-American War of 1898. He coorectly points out that the revisionist studies of recent decades offer compelling proof that the United States leaders were motivated to take over the island for economic and military reasons rather than by an altruistic need to protect the Puerto Rican people. He points out the shortomings of the historiography of the interpretations of traditional Eurocentric approaches.

Pico's coverage of the modern era between 1940 to the present is disappointing. He gives a description of political developments during the era and the economic problems of the last few decades. However, there is too little coverage of culture in Puerto Rico. This book is strong in economic, agricultural, political, and demographic analysis. It is weak in coverage about traditions, religion, literary, artistic, and culinary tastes and mores that give the reader an idea of the uniqueness of the Puerto Rican people.
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