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The People's Poet
Life and Myth of Ismael Rivera, an Afro-Caribbean Icon
Rosa Elena Carrasquillo, associate professor Caribbean, Latin American and Latino History, College of the Holy Cross
Book review:
Carrasquillo masterfully brings us an exciting biography of the mythical singer that centers the story within the social, political and economic milieus that shaped Puerto Rico during Maelos lifetime. In Carrasquillos writings Ismael Rivera comes alive as he struggles and navigates the Latin music worlds of San Juan and New York, and the opportunities and limitations present in the Puerto Rican society of his lifetime. This book is a must for all the fans of Afro-Caribbean music as well as for academics and students of 20th century Caribbean societies.
Xavier F. Totti, Lehman College, CUNY and editor of CENTRO: Journal of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies


This nuanced and melodic portrait of Ismael Rivera provides an insightful look at salsa and its socio-political contexts from Puerto Rico to New York. The book leads the reader through great international triumphs to drug addiction and desolation, all the while pausing to ask difficult questions about black and Puerto Rican identity, post-colonial racism and misogyny. But in the end, its the music and its glory that most matters.
June Carolyn Erlick, editor-in-chief, ReVista, the Harvard Review of Latin America

October 2014, Caribbean Studies Press, 260pp, 75 black & white illustrations, softcover
ISBN 978-1-62632-197-7 Cat # CSP1977
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