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War Against all Puerto Ricans

War Against all Puerto Ricans, by Nelson A. Denis, had the potential of becoming the book that would have told in a single unit the dispersed true accounts of the history of Puerto Rico’s plight under U. S. rule since its invasion in 1898. Unfortunately, it is not so because, although very well written, its author allowed himself to unleash his fertile imagination to concoct fictional events.

To those who know nothing or very little about that sector of the Puerto Rican people who struggles to be free of foreign intervention and control, the book is an extraordinary piece of history. One of the reasons for this impression is the abundance of bibliographical sources, which include reference to specific sections of the FBI file on two of the most prominent characters of what otherwise seems to be a historical novel, as well as books by Puerto Rican authors who have adequately researched that long and at times bloody struggle. The problem is that, in too many cases, those bibliographical sources either are incomplete or fail to coincide with the texts to which they are attached.

On the other hand, to those who do know the intricacies of that history, the author’s assertion that the book’s title derives from a direct quotation of words uttered by a North American chief of the Puerto Rico Police in 1936 is a false claim that signals the huge amount of wrong data and even apparently intentional misrepresentations of events. Although Puerto Rican historians specialized in Puerto Rico’s struggle for independence, as well as some persons with direct knowledge of the facts have publicly pointed out ―some directly to him― many of those equivocal or downright wrong details, a second edition and a translation into Spanish are already under way without any announced corrections.