Since the mid-1990s, several scholars of Cuban history, including Aline Helg, Alejandro de la Fuente, Louis Pérez, Antoni Kapcia, K. Lynn Stoner, and Kirwin Shaffer, have explored the complex and frequently conflicting dynamics that shaped the island’s political system and identity in the decades immediately following independence from Spain in 1898. Issues surrounding race and working-class conflicts have been at the center of much of this new research, especially as historians try to sort out what these conflicts say about evolving notions of what it meant to be Cuban. Lillian Guerra’s The Myth of José Martí is one of the latest books to explore these issues. What makes the book unique is how she couches the postindependence disputes surrounding Cuban nationalism within the framework of Martían mythology. By using an array of Cuban archival, newspaper, and published sources, Guerra illustrates how different groups invoked Martí and their vision of what...

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