This volume provides an excellent, thoroughly documented account of American policy during the second occupation of Cuba. Political interchanges between American officials are carefully analysed, with particular attention to personal attitudes and their basis. The book sets forth the dilemmas confronting Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and Charles E. Magoon. These help to explain the reasons for their respective decisions and their personal influence on the course of the occupation. Roosevelt’s soul searching and his desire to avoid intervention during the initial crisis are clearly indicated. The analysis of the techniques involved in the United States occupation and administration of Cuba is particularly valuable. In addition, the study sharply delineates the policy differences between American army officers and civilians in Cuba, and between these officials and their superiors in Washington, considering the effect of these disputes on the intervention.

While providing a clear description of United States policy making, the study analyzes the decisions exclusively from the American perspective. Events are rarely placed in their Latin American setting, and policy debates among Americans are examined in the light of their personal experience in the area rather than in the context of Latin American development. Consequently the disputes are viewed with the same insularity that characterized the participants. The author emphasizes the desire of United States army officers to “reform” Cuba socially and economically, and regards this objective as more desirable than the civilian goal of merely restoring political stability. Thus he unconsciously condones the attitude of American superiority and the resulting “teacher” outlook inherent in such proposals. Millett does not consider the practicality of broad reforms, for he assumes that remaking Cuba in the image of the United States would improve it.

Comparisons are limited to previous United States experience in Cuba and the Philippines. The Cuban constitution is compared to its United States counterpart, rather than to other Latin American constitutions. While the effects of the Cuban experience on Roosevelt’s policy in other portions of Latin America are noted, Latin American reaction to the intervention receives scant mention. United States military reports frequently characterized Cuban leaders as men whose ability was comparable to that of Porfirio Díaz. This is a striking statement, but Millett does not analyze its implications. He does provide a perceptive comment on the United States Army’s parochialism and isolation, mentioning the officers’ conviction of its superiority to the rest of American society. He might have commented on the remarkable similarity of this attitude to that of the Latin American military, or the relation of this conviction to the officers’ desire to “reform” Cuba.

The careful analysis of American policy-making during the Cuban intervention of 1906-1909 provided in this study deserves attention from all those interested in American diplomacy during the Roosevelt years. The absence of the Latin American context renders the volume essentially a two-dimensional study, but does not lessen its value in those dimensions. As an examination of American policy-making it provides a thorough consideration of the techniques and theories involved.