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War and Genocide in Cuba, 1895-1898 (Envisioning Cuba) Hardcover – March 13, 2006

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Editorial Reviews


An engagingly written book that offers new insights into the war. . . .This thought provoking book should be on many bookshelves.--The Past in Review


Offers many new insights into the Spanish-Cuban-American War or 1895-1898. . . . Uses a unique approach that highlights the lives of a small number of individuals to communicate the more personal experience of war while at the same time exposing larger historical patterns in--and debates about--the war.--New West Indian Guide

|Makes interesting reading and will stir academic debate and inspire further research.--Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

|A highly accessible, explicitly revisionist narrative. . . . Told with verve and pathos. . . . Engagingly written, humane and judicious in its appraisals of a complex and contested history. It deserves to be widely read and its implications debated.--Cuban Review

|Makes careful use of Spanish, Cuban and US archives to provide a truly international account of the conflict.--Patterns of Prejudice

|Often overshadowed by the U.S. military victory of 1898, the last Spanish-Cuban War has failed to receive the attention from historians that it deserves. This important and engrossing book does much to fill the historiographical gap, providing readers with an excellent account and analysis of the conflict in its military, political, social, and economic dimensions. . . . In addition to its very solid grounding in original research and analysis, the book also benefits from its author's style and narrative technique, which combine to make it highly readable.--The Americas

|Tone deals with not only the military aspects of the Cuban-Spanish-American war, but also the internal political complexities of those countries and the social and economic backdrop on which the story unfolds. The author's narrative technique makes for easy reading, with some chapters centered around the personal life of one of the main characters in the drama and other chapters on political and social problems or military history. Tone masters all of these fields.--Jose Alvarez Junco, Centro de Estudios Politicos y Constitucionales, Madrid

|A well-written work that incorporates new scholarship and underutilized primary sources, many from Spanish archives, in an evenhanded analysis of the causes and outcomes of the war. Tone's prose is concise and readable, his analysis cogent. Recommended.--Choice

|Wonderfully informative and balanced. . . . [Tone] provides a fresh understanding of this dismal war, and he has written what is arguably the best single account of it. . . . This is first-rate scholarship.--Journal of American History

|Tone has drawn a complex and involving historical picture not only of the Spanish reconcentration policy, but of the whole war of Cuban independence. He is to be commended for his skills of interpretation, as well as the smooth and involving quality of his writing. His work will enlighten anyone interested in Cuban history. . . . He has laid an excellent foundation for further comparative investigation, providing a useful resource for genocide scholars interested in colonial warfare.--Journal of Genocide Research

|A nuanced perspective. . . . Tone writes well and his work will be accessible to experts and undergraduates alike. . . . A valuable addition to both Cuban and Spanish history and its publication is yet another indication of the high quality of scholarship that has emerged in recent years.--American Historical Review

|Tone's cogent and elegantly written book does not turn patriotic history on its head, but it does dismember the subject. . . . John Tone portrays Cuba as Spain's Vietnam, and his skill at narrating the frightening realities of these 'unconventional' guerilla wars makes it hard to avoid reflecting on tragic events in the world today.--Times Literary Supplement

|An outstanding work. . . . Extremely well researched. . . . A fine study that will stimulate considerable scholarly debate.--History

|Masterful account . . . fascinating and captivating. . . . A must read . . . for anyone who is concerned with current global conflicts and the human rights of noncombatants. . . . Tone does an excellent job of presenting the viewpoint of both the Cubans and the Spanish fairly.--H-Net

|[An] important and engrossing book. . . . A significant work with much to offer historians in Cuba, Spain, and modern war and society in general.--The Americas

|There is no better study of this important war to date than this meticulously researched, cogently argued, and superbly written account.--Franklin W. Knight, Journal of Interdisciplinary History

|Adds enormously to our understanding of the political, social and military dimensions of this war and is essential reading for anyone interested in the island's history, the early story of U.S. imperialism in the Caribbean, or Latin American military history.--Caribbean Studies

|Scholars now have available to them a trenchant, original, and engrossing narrative of the Spanish-Cuban-American War. This book poses important new questions and avenues of research for experts in Spanish and Cuban history. It also offers to students and the curious an accessible account of Spain's efforts to defeat the Cuban Liberating Army and the events that precipitated the US invasion in 1898.--International History Review

|Challenges accepted notions of the Cuban War of Independence and provides an important corrective to studies which have fostered a nationalist interpretation of inevitable triumph.--Canadian Journal of History

|This pathbreaking military history sheds new light on Spanish America's last colonial war and the multitudes that died on its 'ever faithful isle.' . . . Entwines vivid retellings of military engagements with nuanced analyses of the varying motives and strategies of the war's leaders. . . . An engaging study with broad appeal for Cuban, Spanish, and U.S. historians.--HAHR

|Skillful research leads to revisions of past interpretations. . . . [A] comprehensive inquiry. . . . Deserves considerable attention.--The Journal of Military History

|[Tone] has written a welcome, concise history of the Cuban War for Independence in which he succeeds in setting out clearly the complexities of this prolonged war of liberation that turned out to be a tragedy, in one form or another, for both the Cubans and the Spanish. . . . More than a hundred years later, and at a time when Cuba is once more on the verge of possible historic change, [War and Genocide in Cuba] is a book that deserves a wide audience.--Colonial Latin American Historical Review


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Product Details

  • Series: Envisioning Cuba
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press; 1 edition (March 13, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807830062
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807830062
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,103,991 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Erin Tone on October 10, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This beautifully written and meticulously researched book is the best that I've encountered on the subject in many years of reading. Tone has done a magnificent job of presenting a balanced view of the Spanish-Cuban-American war. Readers interested in Jose Marti, the "Butcher" Weyler, and William McKinley will be equally satisfied by this fresh and thoughtful treatment. In this highly readable and definitive account, Tone addresses several critical historiographical debates: Was American intervention necessary? Did Spain go to war knowing defeat was inevitable? Did America enter the war for altruistic or nefarious purposes? I cannot recommend this book more highly to historians and specialists in the field, as well as general readers. The chapter on reconcentration--the policy of relocating civilians into concentration camps--will shock most readers.
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The Cuban-Spanish-American War of 1895-98 would seem a mined-out field of historiograpjy, but in John Lawrence Tone's hand it yields fresh perspectives. Tone's special interest was the demoralizing nature of Spanish miniltary service, as half-starved, malaria-wracked conscripts battled hostile native guerrillas amid a largely indifferent population. But he also focuses on the savage nature of Spanish repression, especially in the East, which approached levels not seen in the Hispanic world until the 1930s. This is what earned General Valeriano Weyler his sobriquet of "Butcher": the Milosevich of the Caribbean, justifying the United Sates' first "humanitarian intervention."

Tone is as ruthlessly honest with the other side. The Cuban insurgents were not above engaging in a bit of genocidal mass murder themselves, against loyalists or any not committed to the independence cause. Based in Oriente, their movement waned considerably as they travelled west toward Havana, paralleling the revolutionary foco of sixty years later. In fact, by the time the marauding forces of Garcia and Gomez passed Santa Clara in their westward ride they found a largely hostile population, more interested in autonomy than independence. This latter goal was largely thrust upon the island by US patronage of the insurrectionary army, for reasons of its own: the beginning of a well-trod global path of American force projection, based on attacking a smaller, weaker, and failing enemy.

The lessons for Cuba were more ambiguous. Achieving independence, the fledgling republic was in hock to its liberators for the next half century; an economic/political satellite that struggled with its own legitimacy until overthrown by new insurgents with new visions.
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Format: Paperback
When the United States went to the war between Cuba and Spain, the war was in its third year. This book chronicles this war, the Cubans against the Spanish. Cuban's personality as José Martí and Máximo Gómez and Spanish as General Weyler are highlighted. As in any good history book, this also consider the social aspects, disease, misery. And has much recent information.
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7 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Laurence Daley on March 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Tone, John Lawrence 2006 War and Genocide in Cuba, 1895-1898 The University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill. ISBN-10 0807830062 ISBN-13: 978-0807830062

This is an interesting book, but I find it misleading. In a laudable attempt to present all sides of the circumstance of genocide in during the Cuban Wars of Independence, the author has relied too heavily on data from dubious sources. In addition the author seems to have made those ideological compromises that are the common currency paid to access Cuban government archives. Examples of this follow (page numbers refer to hard copy edition).

Gerardo Machado on page 198 is mentioned as being mainly rustler citing Spanish sources, a matter generally considered alleged but not proven, but there is no mention of Machado's far more prominent career in independent Cuba. Quintín Banderas' "diary" is cited as probable source in the footnotes of Chapter Thirteen (footnote 43 p. 305) without the consideration that Banderas was one of the few Cuban war leaders who was considered illiterate.

Tone's ideological stance is made very apparent when in the very last paragraph of the book (p. 287) he makes is appear that the Spanish military was uniquely criminal in the vicious and cruel Spanish Civil War, ignoring the circumstance that the author's "striking Spanish workers," had also been murderous and indiscriminate in their killings.

Tone tends to label members of the social structures he apparently disapproves of non-neutral terms, for instance he labels owners of sugar plantations and mills as "sugar baron" (e.g. p. 16) evoking a inaccurate medieval image such as the Norman barons at Runnymede.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By R. Berlin on January 31, 2008
Format: Hardcover
WAR AND GENOCIDE IN CUBA, 1895-1898 is the Society for Military History 2008 Distinguished Book Award winner in Non-United States History for 2008.
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