Mambisas examines women’s political participation in Cuba’s pursuit of independence, particularly during the Ten Years’ War (1868 – 78), exile activities after 1878, and throughout the War for Independence (1895 – 98). By mapping the political engagement of an array of women, Prados-Torierra’s study highlights the racial and class diversity of female insurgents, known as Mambisas. She discusses several famous women in detail, as well as a host of lesser-known individuals. Furthermore, Prados-Torierra incorporates a rich collection of sources, including historical novels, memoirs, and archival records from Cuba and Spain. Based on these materials, the author argues that women’s active commitment to Cuban political autonomy encouraged rebels to redefine themselves. Overall, Mambisas illuminates the critical roles women held on the island and in exile during Cuba’s prolonged struggle for independence in the nineteenth century.

The voices, identities, and images that emerge from the sources are the...

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