THE ISLANDS: The Worlds of the Puerto Ricans by Stan Steiner

THE ISLANDS: The Worlds of the Puerto Ricans

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A highly lacquered, contradictory survey of the Puerto Ricans from the Borinquen Indians to today's ""Rican,"" who combines the warm Latino with the cold Latin. Ah, Puerto Rico, ""the woman's nipple"" of the earth, according to Columbus -- the land of mixed races, lush bodies, jibaros rooted to Mother Earth, sun and poetry. ""Yes, it would kill me not to have the blood of an Indian,"" declares an Indian; says a black man, ""In our hearts. . . there is dark music."" Steiner chimes in, ""The whip and the phallus created the divided self of love and hate"" for the female slaves. There was poverty under American sugar imperialism but Munoz Marin, ""the pamphleteer of God. . . savior of his island and the jibaros. . . . guided the metamorphosis of the poorest land in Latin America to the richest, per capita, in the colonial world."" Will materialism destroy the gracious tradition? Yes, agreed Marin and Steiner, unless Operation Bootstrap is turned into a no-growth Operation Serenity. True, mass hunger prevails in the barrios beyond the highways and turistas. On the mainland, rats and cold compound addiction, disease, ""poverty pimps"" and police pushers; there is the Church, losing ground, and also Steiner's friends like Manny Diaz of the Urban Coalition. Poverty is indomitable -- but so is the cultural soul of the Puerto Rican: that's the message.

Pub Date: March 27th, 1974
Publisher: Harper & Row