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Island at War - Puerto Rico in the Crucible of the Second World War

Island at War

Puerto Rico in the Crucible of the Second World War

Edited by Jorge Rodriguez Beruff & Jose L. Bolivar Fresneda
Series: Caribbean Studies Series

Paperback : 9781496809773, 300 pages, 32 b&w illustrations; 8 tables, May 2016
Hardcover : 9781628461640, 304 pages, 32 b&w illustrations; 8 tables, May 2015

An illuminating study of the Caribbean island’s contributions to the American war effort


Despite Puerto Rico being the hub of the United States’s naval response to the German blockade of the Caribbean, there is very little published scholarship on the island’s heavy involvement in the global conflict of World War II. Recently, a new generation of scholars has been compiling interdisciplinary research with fresh insights about the profound wartime changes, which in turn generated conditions for the rapid economic, social, and political development of postwar Puerto Rico. The island's subsequent transformation cannot be adequately grasped without tracing its roots to the war years.

Island at War brings together outstanding new research on Puerto Rico and makes it accessible in English. It covers ten distinct topics written by nine distinguished scholars from the Caribbean and beyond. Contributors include experts in the fields of history, political science, sociology, literature, journalism, communications, and engineering.

Topics include US strategic debate and war planning for the Caribbean on the eve of World War II, Puerto Rico as the headquarters of the Caribbean Sea frontier, war and political transition in Puerto Rico, the war economy of Puerto Rico, the German blockade of the Caribbean in 1942, and the story of a Puerto Rican officer in the Second World War and Korea. With these essays and others, Island at War represents the cutting edge of scholarship on the role of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean in World War II and its aftermath.


"A valuable, insightful, interdisciplinary collection of essays about the impact of World War II upon Puerto Rico and upon the island's relationship with the United States, this volume is an important contribution to scholarship on the Second World War, United States, and the Caribbean."

- John Whiteclay Chambers II, distinguished professor of history, Rutgers University, and editor-in-chief of The Oxford Companion to American Military History

"The superb essays in this volume admirably cover, in an interdisciplinary fashion, two related themes of Caribbean historiography: the strategic and military role played by the Caribbean for the United States from the 1930s to World War II and the heavy economic, social and political impact it had on Puerto Rico as a US colonial territory, including the human drama of land expropriations in Vieques and the life story of a Korean War veteran. Drawing from a rich variety of sources and creative analysis, the book centers on the climax period of US military power in the region, making it an essential reference for the study of US imperial relations with the Caribbean."

- Humberto García-Muñiz, director, Institute of Caribbean Studies, University of Puerto Rico