The poetry, prose, essays, oral history, legends and drama stitched together in this volume are more utilitarian than beautiful -- it's a case of the excellence of form and expression usually connoted by ""literature"" having been subjugated to ideology. The patriotic and national theme of liberty and the search for a spiritual identity submerge the sense of universality. Patriotism as a generalized sentiment tends to produce mawkish, bathetic writing, and the single-minded thematic editing of 400 years of the literature of this semi-nation (Borinquen is the ancient Indian name for Puerto Rico) has carved out a work of polemic. After so much high-flown rhetoric re the homeland, the promised land, the Fatherland, without a buffering sense of non-political life, sympathy becomes blurred at the edges. While it will serve as a tool for social consciousness, this anthology beats the drum of the oppressed peoples of colonialism with too strident an enthusiasm even for veteran liberal partisans. Steiner is also the author of La Raza (re the Chicanos) and The New Indians.