PUERTO RICAN PATRIOT: The Life of Luis Munoz Rivera by Mack Reynolds

PUERTO RICAN PATRIOT: The Life of Luis Munoz Rivera

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Fortunately there have been two acceptable biographies of Munoz Rivera (in Father and Son for Freedom and The Quiet Rebels); this one is a disaster. The introduction notes that ""national hero(es) are usually thought of as men coming from great countries"" (by whom -- the citizens of great countries?), identifies such as George Washington, Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great, Peter the Great, Charlemagne, Alfred the Great and Richard the Lion-Hearted (""rulers of England""), goes on to evaluate William of Orange vis-a-vis Genghis Khan, and concludes: ""Can the national hero of an island such as Puerto Rico, only one hundred miles long by thirty-five miles wide . . . etc., etc. . . be rated with the truly outstanding leaders of the world? This will be shown."" Waiting to be shown, we trudged through seven pages on Columbus, six pages on Ponce de Leon, mention of the Aztec and Inca conquests, several pages on pirates and sea attacks--with nothing occurring inside Puerto Rico except poverty--until, one-third of the way through, ""A National Hero Is Born."" What ""an occasion for celebration"": a paragraph on the decima, a type of folk song marking an event; another on the lechon asado, ""a small suckling pig roasted over an open fire""; still another on the horchata, a fruit drink. ""At this point in the story"" when hope flickers for this new life (or any life) ""it is necessary to explain the Spanish way of naming a child.

Pub Date: Oct. 13th, 1969
Publisher: Crowell-Collier