Essays on Cuban History: Historiography and Research

By Louis A. Pérez Jr. | Go to book overview

Chapter 11
The Cuban Revolution after Twenty-five Years: A Survey of Sources, Scholarship, and State of the Literature

The celebration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Cuban revolution in 1984 occurred amid assessments of its performance and problems and appraisals of its success and setbacks. Both in and out of Cuba, both among friends and foes, the quarter-century mark offered a convenient benchmark at which to pause and take stock of the course completed up to that time by the revolution. The practice of assessing the Cuban revolution had become something of an annual ritual, and the pronouncements of the twenty-fifth year differed only in kind from previous appraisals. On twenty-four occasions, the passing of the anniversary provided the opportunity to assess the state of the revolution, so that in the course of these twenty-five years a literature of rather formidable proportions has accummulated.

The corpus of the literature inspired by the Cuban revolution quickly reached large proportions. It passed through several distinctive stages and developed in several different directions. Almost all of this scholarship falls within two categories. One important achievement of the postrevolutionary scholarship was the development of a new historiography on Cuba. Until 1959 historical research on Cuba was confined largely to articles appearing in scholarly journals dealing with important but highly specialized subjects. After the revolution, historical research on Cuba expanded rapidly, becoming something of a flourishing enterprise. In a very real sense, this research was inspired by a search for the antecedents of the revolution--an inquiry that rested on the unstated as

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