The Structure of Cuban History

Meanings and Purpose of the Past

By Louis A. Pérez Jr.

354 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 20 halftones, notes, index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-2659-8
    Published: August 2015
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-1-4696-0886-0
    Published: September 2013
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-4488-0
    Published: September 2013

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In this expansive and contemplative history of Cuba, Louis A. Pérez Jr. argues that the country's memory of the past served to transform its unfinished nineteenth-century liberation project into a twentieth-century revolutionary metaphysics. The ideal of national sovereignty that was anticipated as the outcome of Spain's defeat in 1898 was heavily compromised by the U.S. military intervention that immediately followed. To many Cubans it seemed almost as if the new nation had been overtaken by another country's history.

Memory of thwarted independence and aggrievement--of the promise of sovereignty ever receding into the future--contributed to the development in the early republic of a political culture shaped by aspirations to fulfill the nineteenth-century promise of liberation, and it was central to the claim of the revolution of 1959 as the triumph of history. In this capstone book, Pérez discerns in the Cuban past the promise that decisively shaped the character of Cuban nationality.

About the Author

Louis A. Pérez Jr. is J. Carlyle Sitterson Professor of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences as well as the Academia de la Historia de Cuba, Pérez is author, most recently, of Cuba in the American Imagination: Metaphor and the Imperial Ethos.
For more information about Louis A. Pérez Jr., visit the Author Page.


“An important book that will reshape what we think about both nineteenth-century Cuba and the post-1959 period of the Cuban people.”--The Americas

"Absolutely no one knows Cuba like Pérez. . . . A challenging addition to the ever-growing body of Cuban histories."--Library Journal

"Pérez [is] a masterful historian of Cuba."--Foreign Affairs

“The work of a master historian . . . [and] essential reading for those seeking to understand the nature of Cuban history.”--International Affairs

“Pérez continues to be at the forefront of the historiography of Cuba and its people. Those interested in the history of Cuba will find this book promising and useful.”--Colonial Latin American Historical Review

“Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above.”--Choice