Bonnie Lucero's insightful monograph closes with Quintín Bandera's 1906 assassination by the Cuban Rural Guard—a haunting image. Bandera's trajectory from national hero to villain encapsulates Lucero's powerful arguments about the island's transition from independence war to civilian government. Born in 1834 to parents who had been enslaved in the eastern province of Santiago, Bandera joined the anti-Spanish nationalist insurgency in its early beginnings. A staunch fighter throughout the three wars (in 1868–78, 1879–80, and 1895–98), he led some of the most decisive military operations and rose through the ranks to become a general. His authority perpetually questioned, he was quickly demoted, even as his popularity soared. In 1906, this aging veteran had been blocked from major state employment opportunities. During a protest against the fraudulent reelection of Tomás Estrada Palma as president of the republic, a betrayal of Bandera's political vision, he...

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