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About the Book

Beyond the Book

352 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 105 illus., notes, index

Cuba in the American Imagination

Metaphor and the Imperial Ethos


For more than two hundred years, Americans have imagined and described Cuba and its relationship to the United States by conjuring up a variety of striking images--Cuba as a woman, a neighbor, a ripe fruit, a child learning to ride a bicycle. Louis A. Pérez Jr. offers a revealing history of these metaphorical and depictive motifs and discovers the powerful motives behind such characterizations of the island as they have persisted and changed since the early nineteenth century. Drawing on texts and visual images produced by Americans ranging from government officials, policy makers, and journalists to travelers, tourists, poets, and lyricists, Pérez argues that these charged and coded images of persuasion and mediation were in service to America's imperial impulses over Cuba.

About the Author

Louis A. Pérez Jr. is J. Carlyle Sitterson Professor of History and director of the Institute for the Study of the Americas at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the author of many award-winning books, including On Becoming Cuban: Identity, Nationality, and Culture and To Die in Cuba: Suicide and Society (both from the University of North Carolina Press).


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