Scholars of Latin America interested in the ways that policies promoting modernization and urbanization have affected popular culture will find much to offer in Carmelo Esterrich's analysis of Puerto Rican cultural production during the 1950s. As a Caribbean island with deep social and cultural connections to Latin America despite its colonial status within the US political system, Puerto Rico was used during the mid-twentieth century as both a laboratory and a showcase for US-led development strategies centered on infrastructural modernization, public housing, health and sanitation programs, and industrialization. Historians interested in the export of these strategies to midcentury Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, and elsewhere in the region would be wise to examine how they were first implemented in Puerto Rico.

Esterrich argues that the rapid industrialization of the 1950s exposed a tension between cultural conceptions of the rural and the urban in...

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