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Fatal Glory: Narciso Lopez and the the First Clandestine U.S. War Against Cuba
Synopses & Reviews
Until now, the story of Narciso Lopez's daring invasions of Cuba has remained one of the great lost sagas of American history. Wildly famous during the mid-nineteenth century as the leader of a filibuster, a clandestine army, Lopez led the first armed challenge to Spain's long dominion over Cuba. While U.S. historians have tended to view Lopez - with his ties to Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, John C. Calhoun, and other southerners - as an agent of pre-Civil War southern expansionism, Tom Chaffin reveals a broader, more complicated picture. Although many southerners did assist Lopez the web of intrigue that sustained his conspiracy also included New York City steamship magnates, penny press editors, Cuban industrialists, and northern Democratic urban bosses. Between 1848 and 1851 Lopez tried five times to dislodge Cuba's Spanish government. After fleeing to the United States in the wake of an aborted uprising within Cuba, Lopez organized four separate expeditionary forces. Federal intervention thwarted two before they could set sail. The other two reached Cuba and battled the Spanish army. Lopez's May 1850 expeditionary troops endured attempted mutinies, desertions, and harrowing Gulf storms before their steamer grounded on a sandbar off Cardenas, Cuba. Lopez and his ragtag army of five hundred battled the Spanish through the night, and by morning they controlled Cardenas. The arrival of Spanish reinforcements later that day forced the filibusters to make a hasty retreat to sea. With a Spanish man-of-war in hot pursuit, Lopez sailed for Key West, Florida. After exhausting their coal, the filibusters burned bacon, shirts, and everything else they could find to fuel their ship's engine.When they reached Key West, the Spanish brig was only a quarter mile behind them. The Cardenas expedition failed, but newspapers and speakers at pro-Lopez rallies quickly transformed the failed invaders into glorious heroes of U.S. republicanism. To crush Lopez, the federal
Book News Annotation:
An historical look at the man who, between 1849 and 1851, attempted to make Cuba part of the US by ending Spain's dominion over the island. His actions have previously been viewed as an off-shoot of southern expansionism in the Civil War, but Chaffin (history, Emory U.) contends otherwise, showing that his conspiracy was sustained not only by southerners, but by NYC magnates, Cuban industrialists, and northern Democrats.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Until now, the story of Narciso Lopez's daring invasions of Cubahas remained one of the great lost sagas of American history. Wildly famous duringthe mid-nineteenth century as the leader of a filibuster, a clandestine army, Lopezled the first armed challenge to Spain's long domination over Cuba. While U.S.historians have tended to view Lopez as an agent of pre-Civil War southernexpansionism, Tom Chaffin reveals a broader, more complicated picture. Although manysoutherners did assist Lopez, the web of intrigue that sustained his conspiracy alsoincluded New York City, steamship magnates, penny press editors, Cubanindustrialists, and nothern Democratic urbanbosses.
Drawn from archives in both the UnitedStates and Cuba and enlivened by first-person accounts and reports from federalspecial agents assigned to spy on Lopez, Fatal Glory holds appeal for bothscholars and the general reader with an interest in Cuba, U.S. foreign policy, orthe U.S. sectional crisis of the 1850s.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 253-267) and index.
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