Hulme, Peter (2011). Cuba’s Wild East. A Literary Geography of Oriente. Liverpool University Press (Liverpool).

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Hulme, Peter (2011). Cuba’s Wild East. A Literary Geography of Oriente. Liverpool University Press (Liverpool).
  Book Reviews Hulme, Peter (2011)  Cuba’s Wild East. A Literary Geography of Oriente , LiverpoolUniversity Press (Liverpool), xi + 455 pp. £70.00 hbk. Cuba’s Wild East   is the opening title for the new series  American Tropics: Towards aLiterary Geography , whose purpose is to offer a new approach to the writing of literaryhistory from a geographical perspective. The series focuses on regions, going beyondnational literary boundaries and engaging with the discipline of cultural geography.The book is meticulously researched and two predominant aspects stand out.First, the author uses an inclusive literary approach in consonance with the series ethos:‘attention to place never asks to see a passport’ (p. 13). Therefore, Cuban writers appearalongside non-Cuban ones sharing their focus on Oriente, expanding the understandingand relevance of this region throughout Cuban history. Second, the book offers acomprehensive (yet rigorously researched) analysis of Eastern Cuba, from the strugglefor independence in the 1870s, as seen in the book  The Mambi-Land   (1874) by theIrish nationalist journalist James J. O’Kelly, to former Guant ´anamo prisoner MuratKurnaz’s  Five Years of My Life: An Innocent Man in Guantanamo  (2008 [2007]).Despite this long span, the weight lies most significantly on the nineteenth century(five out of eight chapters). Chapter 1 traces the steps of O’Kelly, sent from the UnitedStates to find Carlos Manuel de C ´espedes and report back about the insurrection, © 2014 The Author. Bulletin of Latin American Research © 2014 Society for Latin American Studies 250  Bulletin of Latin American Research  Vol. 33, No. 2  Book Reviews which, starting in 1868, marked the beginning of the Cuban independence movement.Chapter 2 is devoted to Jos ´e Martí, providing a take on the Cuban theme; the chapter’ssecond part concentrates on his war diary, written shortly before his death on 19 May1895. Martí’s return to Cuba also represented a personal re-encounter with anotherworld within Cuba, only accessed before through literature; Martí would experience anepiphany and Oriente provided the landscape and entry-point to that world.Chapters 3–5 look at US representations of the area. Chapter 3 takes three USnovels ( Soldiers of Fortune  (1897),  Under the Cuban Flag   (1897) and  Mingo Dabney (1950)), which encapsulate the US interestin the Cuban struggle for independence in the1890s.  Soldiers of Fortune  serves as a model to the other two, foregrounding the ideasof progress and modernity, coming from abroad. Despite its hero being an engineerworking in the mining industry (in Oriente iron-mining was a lucrative activity for UScompanies), the ideology behind this and the other two novels is about ‘a young USman, with a sound practical background, instincts of efficiency, and boundless energy,[who] comes to Cuba and demonstrates how things should be done’ (p. 168). Chapter4 focuses more specifically on the Spanish American War (1898), with journalisticaccounts from Oriente by Richard Harding Davies ( Soldiers of Fortune ’s author), mostnotably TheCubanandPortoRicanCampaigns (1898),whereTheodoreRooseveltwasimmortalised for leading the ‘The Charge of the Rough Riders’ when 7,000 US troopswere trapped at San Juan Hill by Spanish forces. The young journalist and novelistStephen Crane is also studied in this chapter, along with John Fox Jr’s  Crittenden (1900) and the prolific writer Edward Stratemeyer, who industrialised the productionof adolescent fiction. Chapter 5 is about Andrew Summers Rowan and his famous‘message to García’ in 1898. By following Rowan’s steps, first in Jamaica and then inCuba in his secret mission, the author sheds light on this episode, well-known but onlysuperficially researched until now, which stands out as a very accomplished piece of research.Chapter6dealswithpost-Machadodictatorshipandtheeventsin1935intheremote Realengo 18 , a very inaccessible region at the centre of a dispute between peasants andsugar companies over control of the land, on which two outsiders, US journalist andnovelist Josephine Herbst and Cuban left-wing activist and writer Pablo de la TorrienteBrau, wrote accounts.Chapter 7 focuses on the struggle against the Batista dictatorship led by FidelCastro’s revolutionaries in the Sierra Maestra. It covers much ground, dealing withCuban geographer Antonio N ´u ˜ nez Jim ´enez, but also the well-known interview withFidel Castro by US journalist Herbert Matthews (1957) and the novel  Our Man inHavana  (1958) by Graham Greene. The section on Greene in Santiago, and his secretcontacts with the revolutionaries, brings the comic spy fiction of the novel to life in afine manner.Chapter 8 closes the book with Guant ´anamo and the US Naval Station (GTMO)on Cuban soil. It is a welcome contribution, further deepening the concept of space(Lefebvre) in relation to colonialism and human rights.All in all,  Cuba’s Wild East   offers an engaging and well researched insight intoliterary eastern Cuba. Its efforts to cover a wide range of sources are remarkable and itadds to a fine body of scholarly research. Jorge L. Catal ´a Carrasco Newcastle University © 2014 The Author. Bulletin of Latin American Research © 2014 Society for Latin American Studies Bulletin of Latin American Research  Vol. 33, No. 2  251
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