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THE QUICKENING OF ALBIZU CAMPOS: HOW FENIANISM GALVANIZED
THE LAST AMERICAN LIBERATOR
by Aoife Rivera Serrano
Hardcover. USD $35.95
While the Puerto Rican leader Pedro Albizu Campos studied in the United States between 1912 and 1921 his milieu was colored primarily with people, events, and ideas with one thing in common: a free Ireland. During those years much of Irish America was preoccupied with Ireland’s struggle for independence from Britain, and Albizu Campos was in the perfect spot—Cambridge, Massachusetts—to immerse himself in the history of the struggling Celtic island and the dreams of her revolutionary patriots.
In this brilliant retelling of Albizu’s formative years in Harvard and beyond, the author sheds new light on the insurgent education he received from Irish nationalists known as Fenians, and how it seeded the nationalist revolution against the US occupation of Puerto Rico.
If you ever wonder why Puerto Rico is not yet annexed as a state, this is the book to read.
"Nationalism and independence are messy business, often doomed to failure. Perhaps no communities know this better than the Irish and the Puerto Ricans. And no one was more familiar with that fact than Pedro Albizu Campos, the subject of Aoife Rivera Serrano’s new work which draws the two cultures together. The Quickening of Albizu Campos: How Fenianism Galvanized the Last American Liberator draws a narrative out of a chaotic political landscape that is difficult for contemporary readers to imagine. Yet it is also a poignantly topical story. . . . The struggle in which Campos engaged, and which Serrano illustrates, is born of an intersection of class, race, religion, and nationalism–all of which are given their due in the work.
It is tempting to silo history into neat categories: Irish, Latin American, Revolutionary. Serrano resists this temptation in favor of the complicated truth. This approach demands greater expertise from historians, bridging multiple fields. It also demands more from readers, making The Quickening of Albizu Campos more at home in a graduate syllabus than an undergrad one. Serrano reminds us of the global perspective, and the on-going work of independence. Latino connections to the Irish revolution are well-remembered in Latin America, but often a footnote in Irish Studies programs. Works like The Quickening are perhaps most valuable as reminders to Irish Studies scholars that Irish-Latino connections were important on both sides of the hyphen. Serrano and others have been working to address the gap in scholarship around these critically neglected connections. . ."
––DR. CATHAL PRATT
". . . a well-written and well-documented journey . . . I devoured the book."
––SUSANNE RAMIREZ DE ARELLANO
journalist & cultural critic