José Martí (1853–1895) was the founding hero of Cuban independence. In all of modern Latin American history, arguably only the “Great Liberator” Simón Bolívar rivals Martí in stature and legacy. Beyond his accomplishments as a revolutionary and political thinker, Martí was a giant of Latin American letters, whose poetry, essays, and journalism still rank among the most important works of the region. Today he is revered by both the Castro regime and the Cuban exile community, whose shared veneration of the “apostle” of freedom has led to his virtual apotheosis as a national saint.
In José Martí: A Revolutionary Life, Alfred J. López presents the definitive biography of the Cuban patriot and martyr. Writing from a nonpartisan perspective and drawing on years of research using original Cuban and U.S. sources, including materials never before used in a Martí biography, López strips away generations of mythmaking and portrays Martí as Cuba’s greatest founding father and one of Latin America’s literary and political giants, without suppressing his public missteps and personal flaws. In a lively account that engrosses like a novel, López traces the full arc of Martí’s eventful life, from his childhood and adolescence in Cuba, to his first exile and subsequent life in Spain, Mexico City, and Guatemala, through his mature revolutionary period in New York City and much-mythologized death in Cuba on the battlefield at Dos Ríos. The first major biography of Martí in over half a century and the first ever in English, José Martí is the most substantial examination of Martí’s life and work ever published.
Born in New York City to Cuban parents and raised in Miami, Alfred J. López is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Purdue University. He is the author or editor of three previous books, including José Martí and the Future of Cuban Nationalism. López was the founding editor of The Global South, a leading globalization studies journal, and his work has also appeared in top journals such as American Literature, Comparative Literature, and South Atlantic Quarterly, among many others.
The life, the history and the facts are all here in López’s volume. It is thorough, compelling and a generally lively account...
~The Washington Post
Alfred López’s biography of Martí, evidently the product of long research and reflection, is a most impressive achievement. . . . It will be the standard biography—in English or Spanish—for years to come.
~Gustavo Pérez Firmat, David Feinson Professor in the Humanities, Columbia University, and author of the award-winning Life on the Hyphen: The Cuban-American Way
This is the one and only book that treats the nineteenth-century Cuban figure José Martí as a human instead of an idol, an apostle, or an unblemished personality. . . . Anyone now writing about Martí and the war of independence will have to refer to this book. . . . It establishes a new field.
~Tom Miller, author of Trading with the Enemy: A Yankee Travels through Castro’s Cuba
Introduction: Mariano and Leonor
Part One: Before the Fall (1853–1870)
Chapter One. An Unlikely Prodigy
A Boy's First Letter
Chapter Two. The Teacher Appears
Chapter Three. Trial by Fire
Part Two: Exile (1871–1880)
Chapter Four. Spain
Chapter Five. A Young Man's Travels
Chapter Six. Discovering America (1): Mexico
A Secret Mission
Chapter Seven. Discovering America (2): Guatemala
Chapter Eight. Homecoming, Interrupted
Part Three: The Great Work (1881–1895)
Chapter Nine. New York (1): A False Start
In the Land of Bolívar
Chapter Ten. New York (2): No Country, No Master
Chapter Eleven. New York (3): The Great Work Begins
Chapter Twelve. New York (4): The Final Push
Chapter Thirteen. Farewells and Rowboats
A Narrow Escape—and One Last Letter for His Patria
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