Slightly less than four full days elapsed between the beginning of the revolt in the Dominican Republic against the government of President Donald Reid Cabral on April 24, 1965, and the landing of American military forces in the Republic on April 28. Theodore Draper deals mainly with events during these four days and has limited himself, in his words, “to behind-the-scenes political action and decisions” relative to American policy. Thus he does not consider such matters as the assassination of Rafael L. Trujillo in 1961, the election and overthrow of Juan Bosch, military action during the American occupation, or the withdrawal of American troops.

The present publication is derived largely from articles written by the author for various journals during 1965-1966, and particularly from an article in Commentary in 1965. Additional material has come from personal interviews, from the memoirs of several people who were involved in the affair of 1965, and from speeches in the United States Senate by members of the Foreign Relations Committee. Since the earlier articles were based primarily on the contemporary news media, the work suffers considerably from a lack of access to official sources. But it suffers more from the author’s method of mixing verified with alleged facts, and from surmises and judgments about both men and events. The thread of the story is often lost in its unwinding, and the reader is left uncertain about the relevance of a fact or the conclusion intended. Nevertheless, the main thrust of the account is reasonably clear.

According to Draper, the revolt against the Reid government began as a movement to overthrow a weak regime, ineffective in dealing with the problems of the Dominican people and not wholly divorced from the reactionary social and economic policies of the Trujillo era. The revolt had the objective of restoring Juan Bosch to office, was not Communist dominated, and might have been successful if the United States had encouraged the rebels or even remained neutral. American leaders were convinced, however, that Juan Bosch was either in alliance with Communists or would be dominated by them. Accordingly, the American government aided the opponents of the rebels, tried to establish a military junta, and, failing that, sent in troops under the pretext of safeguarding American lives and the lives of other foreigners in the Republic. Subsequently United States officials, including the president and the Secretary of State, gave ex parte, garbled, or tendentious accounts of their decisions and the alleged facts on which they were based.

Draper admits that the whole story of the American intervention in the Dominican Republic in 1965 must await the availability of further evidence. Meanwhile he has pieced together some of the story and has added to what he calls “the incalculable mass of words written about the Dominican crisis.”