Written in clear, vivid prose, Lords of the Mountain is worth reading for its description of the impact of the sugar economy on rural Cuba; the agrarian policies and consequences of the U.S. military occupation; and the history of Oriente province, where Fidel Castro later found his base of rural support.
Lords of the Mountain is a colorful narrative that views how Cuba's violent history in the late nineteenth and early twentieth-century was also a history of economic violence. From the 1870s, the expanding sugar industry began to swallow up rural communities and destroy the traditional land tenure system, as the great sugar estates-the “latifundia” dominated the economy. Perez chronicles the popular resistance to these powerful landholders, and the violent uprisings and banditry propagated against them.
Hobsbawm's popular thesis of social banditry, set forth some twenty to thirty years ago, still has considerable power of scholarly persuasion, as is demonstrated by this well-written and interesting work by veteran Cuban specialist Louis Perez.
Perez's analysis of lawlessness and rebellion is particularly valuable. . . . The book is thoroughly documented and elegantly written. It should appeal to a broad audience interested in general problems related to the colonial heritage, social transformation under peripheral capitalist development, and the particular conditions under which social banditry expresses broader social turmoil with a revolutionary potential.