Fernando Pico is Puerto Rico's leading historian and author of over 20 books in Spanish and two translated into English.Less known is that he started his career as a columnist for the leading English-language newspaper in Puerto Rico, the ""San Juan Star"", from the early 1970s to the 1980s. At that time he was a free-wheeling young grad student and later a professor, and the editor of the newspaper often cut out his more radical commentary. Thus, Pico had to resort to oblique satire.These essays deal with continuity and change in Puerto Rico, and constitute a delightful San Juan reader from a thoughtful historian's point of view. The themes range from Puerto Rican events observed from Paris, to politics encompassing the harassment of Puerto Rican dissenters in the early 1970's and the proliferation of referenda on the island, to lyrical descriptions of the disappearance of rural landscapes and cultural traditions. He describes bus riding etiquette and documents how neighborhoods were changing. He talks to older Puerto Ricans and records their descriptions and anecdotes, discovers old picture books and reflects on turning points in Puerto Rican history, ponders street names, and documents famous and forgotten prisoners and prisons. It is a unique window onto San Juan's wonderful cultural mosaic.
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