The Book of Salsa

A Chronicle of Urban Music from the Caribbean to New York City

By César Miguel Rondón

Translated by Frances R. Aparicio with Jackie White

352 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-5859-2
    Published: March 2008
  • eBook ISBN: 978-0-8078-8639-7
    Published: March 2008
  • Large Print ISBN: 978-0-8078-8638-0
    Published: June 2010

Latin America in Translation

Buy this Book

For Professors:
Free E-Exam Copies

To purchase online via an independent bookstore, visit
Salsa is one of the most popular types of music listened to and danced to in the United States. Until now, the single comprehensive history of the music--and the industry that grew up around it, including musicians, performances, styles, movements, and production--was available only in Spanish. This lively translation provides for English-reading and music-loving fans the chance to enjoy César Miguel Rondón's celebrated El libro de la salsa.

Rondón tells the engaging story of salsa's roots in Puerto Rico, Cuba, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, and Venezuela, and of its emergence and development in the 1960s as a distinct musical movement in New York. Rondón presents salsa as a truly pan-Caribbean phenomenon, emerging in the migrations and interactions, the celebrations and conflicts that marked the region. Although salsa is rooted in urban culture, Rondón explains, it is also a commercial product produced and shaped by professional musicians, record producers, and the music industry. For this first English-language edition, Rondón has added a new chapter to bring the story of salsa up to the present.

About the Author

César Miguel Rondón is a journalist, author, and radio and television producer with Corporación Televen in Caracas, Venezuela. Frances R. Aparicio is professor of Latin American and Latino studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Jackie White is assistant professor of English at Lewis University.
For more information about César Miguel Rondón, visit the Author Page.


"Possibly the best broad portrait of the artistic and commercial development of the music. . . . A landmark text in popular music and an early example of musical globalization literature . . . an essential read."--Journal of American History

"[A] wonderful chronicle of . . . Latin urban music. . . . [A] gem. . . . One of the best single comprehensive chronicles of this music and its industry, the musicians and their performances, styles, movements and productions."--Latin Beat

"Crossing continents, from New York City and Puerto Rico to Venezuela, Rondón examines salsa's working-class origins . . . and relates the difficulties of marginalized barrio life to the music's international appeal. Along with insightful analyses of styles, music, movements, performances, production and marketing, [The Book of Salsa] offers detailed coverage of such highly influential talents as Willie Colón, Eddie Palmieri and Ray Barretto. The concluding 'Basic Discography' serves as a great collecting guide."--Publishers Weekly

"An excellent English translation. . . . . The classic narrative of the origins and trajectory of salsa, which has informed the best academic writing on the subject for years, is now at the disposal of readers of English."--Hispanic American Research Review

"[The] bible for salsa lovers."--Hispanic

"A must-have for all salsa aficionados."--The Descarga Review