Guantánamo

Guantánamo

An American History

Book - 2011
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Baker & Taylor
Chronicles the history of Guantanamo Bay, from the Founding Fathers' desire to possess it to the controversial base it hosts today and the uber-patriotic American soldiers, civilians and their families that call the piece of land home.

McMillan Palgrave

An on-the-ground history of American empire

Say the word "Guantánamo" and orange jumpsuits, chain-link fences, torture, and indefinite detention come to mind. To critics the world over, Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, is a striking symbol of American hypocrisy. But the prison isn't the whole story. For more than two centuries, Guantánamo has been at the center of American imperial ambition, first as an object of desire then as a convenient staging ground.

In Guantánamo: An American History, Jonathan M. Hansen presents the first complete account of this fascinating place. The U.S. presence at Guantánamo predates even the nation itself, as the bay figured centrally in the imperial expansion plans of colonist and British sailor Lawrence Washington—half brother of the future president George. As the young United States rose in power, Thomas Jefferson and his followers envisioned a vast "empire of liberty," which hinged on U.S. control of the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. Politically and geographically, Guantánamo Bay was the key to this strategy. So when Cubans took up arms against their Spanish rulers in 1898, America swooped in to ensure that Guantánamo would end up firmly in its control.

Over the next century, the American navy turned the bay into an idyllic modern Mayberry—complete with bungalows, cul-de-sacs, and country clubs—which base residents still enjoy. In many ways, Guantánamo remains more quintessentially American than America itself: a distillation of the idealism and arrogance that has characterized U.S. national identity and foreign policy from the very beginning.

Despite the Obama administration's repeated efforts to shutter the notorious prison, the naval base is in no danger of closing anytime soon. Places like Guantánamo, which fall between the clear borders of law and sovereignty, continue to serve a purpose regardless of which leaders—left, right, or center—hold the reins of power.



Baker
& Taylor

Chronicles the history of Guantanamo Bay, from the Founding Fathers' desire to possess it to the controversial base it hosts today and the uber-patriotic American soldiers, civilians and their families that call the piece of land home. By the author of The Lost Promise of Patriotism. 15,000 first printing.

Publisher: New York : Hill and Wang, 2011
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780809053414
0809053411
Branch Call Number: 355.3432 Hansen 2011
Characteristics: xvii, 428 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm

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josiehann
Oct 30, 2017

What an eye-opening history of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and the US (or British when we were a colony) involvement therein. It is fascinating to me, and a wee bit despicable, that we are legally there, and everything from imprisonment of individuals for being HIV-positive, to gun-running, to torture has been conducted from that base.

A hugely important read for understanding US policy abroad, and our foreign policy goals, and practices.

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