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Reviews of "The Sandino Affair"

 

TITLE: The Sandino Affair
AUTHOR: Neill Macaulay
ISBN: 0965386449

DESCRIPTION: This is a reprint of the 1985 Duke University Press edition of "The Sandino Affair", the classic account of the struggle of native General Augusto C. Sandino against the United States Marine Corps in the mountains and jungles of Nicaragua from 1927 to 1933. A proud Hispanic and a master of guerrilla tactics, Sandino was the spiritual father of a generation of Latin American revolutionary warriors, including Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, and the Sandinistas of contemporary Nicaragua.

REVIEW: While an accomplished innovator in military technique, Sandino was a tragic political figure. After waging a valiant struggle from 1927 to 1933, he surrendered upon the election of a liberal government and the departure of the Marines without receiving any government position or guarantees. Within a year, he was gunned down by the eldest Somoza's henchmen in the National Guard and a dictatorship was imposed...Sandino obviously tapped into a deep strain of anti-Yankee sentiment...In providing insight into the character of the figure who served as an inspiration for hemispheric revolution in Cuba and Nicaragua, Macaulay performs a valuable service. Best Sellers, February 1986

REVIEW: In a classic monograph, scrupulously researched and stylishly written, the author sketches the backdrop of Nicaragua, brings American troops to the foreground, and then places his nationalist guerrilla leader in this context. When originally written - nearly two decades ago - this work was hailed as a parable that could illuminate United States policy in Vietnam. Today the lessons to be learned fall much closer to home...This work has been and will continue to be influential. Latin America in Books, January 1986

REVIEW: Macaulay describes in great detail Sandino's military tactics and battles, the role an underdeveloped infrastructure and geography played in the warfare, and the American military, Nicaraguan and other Central American personalities involved in the action... The book is fast-paced and well-written. It ought to be in all public and school libraries... Whether one agrees or disagrees with the contemporary Sandinistas, this book helps one understand them. The Reprint Bulletin, January 1987

REVIEW: Neill Macaulay's "The Sandino Affair" is woven around the subject of guerrilla warfare. Its focus is Nicaragua specifically; Central America in general. It embraces a somewhat glorified biography of Sandino and what in part appears to be a biased account of U.S. involvement in Nicaragua, 1927-1933. The author, Macaulay, speaks of the "imperialist aims" of the United states and fails to give due credit to the peacekeeping role of the Marines and their contribution to bringing a civil war to an end... Macaulay recounts how Somoza arranged the steps by which a squad of Guardia, essentially a firing squad, ended Gen Sandino's colorful and "radical ambitious" career. Macaulay here displays his prejudice. He states that although the United States was not directly involved in the assassination of Sandino, it is generally believed that the crime was instigated by "Yankee Imperialists." Marine Corps Gazette, November 1986

REVIEW: Although his book is written in the vivid style of an adventure story, it helps answer some questions that should be of as much interest to U.S. policy-makers as to would-be revolutionaries. Questions such as: Who were the people who fought with Castro? Was the Cuban Revolution really "betrayed"? Why did the middle class revolutionaries get wiped out? St. Petersburg Times, July 5,1970.

REVIEW: Neill Macaulay's account of the bizarre war between U.S. marines and Nicaraguan rebel chief Augusto C. Sandino reads curiously like today's newspapers. From 1927 to 1933, Sandino's guerrillas practiced hit-and-run tactics against the superior American occupying force, dragging away their dead and wounded with them to mask the measure of their losses, dispersing during the day to avoid U.S. bombing and engaing the enemy only when surprise and tactical position favored them. In Cuba, for example, Che Guevara and Fidel Castro took Sandino as their model. Newsweek, 6 March 1967)

REVIEW: When I was a whippersnapper...New York City had many more newspapers than it does today. Among them were tabloids that...tried to build up circulation with sensational stories. One story I can remember the newsboys shouting was, "Extra! Extra! United States declares war on Nicaragua." In fact, the United States never declared war on Nicaragua, but we did have a sizeable force of marines there...trying to put down a guerrilla leader named Augusto Sandino...His name stuck in my mind...and so, when a book about him became available, I decided to read it. The book is by Neill Macaulay, a former American Army officer who also served with Castro in the early days and now teaches history at the University of Florida...Maccaulay's style is clear, unadorned and direct, and that contributes to the unusual interest of his book. Edwin Newman, NBC News, 14 June 1971

REVIEW: Few have better credentials as an expert on Latin American guerrillas than author Macaulay who, after fighting as one under Castro, turned to studying them as a historian. He has put his expertise to good account in this volume. Sandino won the war against US intervention (1928-1933) although he lost many engagements and his casualty rate was several times that of the enemy...The principal innovation of the war was the US Marines' use of airplanes for tactical support: the first recorded dive-bombing in history took place in Nicaragua in 1927...The book is well balanced and well written. American Historical Review, May 1968

REVIEW: Macaulay's prose flows smoothly, guiding the reader through the intricacies of the various engagements and the complications of jungle movements of small bodies of troops. The limited scale of the operations is soon forgotten, for the author skillfully integrates the various campaigns and places them in the context of the overall confrontation between the guerrillas and the Marines. Descriptive passages convey the nature of the terrain, giving the reader a feeling of involvement. The study is well grounded in the primary sources, and is clearly military history at its best. Caribbean Studies. January 1969

REVIEW: No mere rehash of an unsavory experience, this is a solid miltary and political history of a now-forgotten insurgency in Nicaraqua that for six years involved the Marine Corps in frustrating jungle and guerrilla warfare. It points up our failure to learn to understand native peoples in our efforts to win them to allegiance to the lawful government, and that our conduct of this affair still rankles among peoples of the American Republics. Army, May 1967

REVIEW: Macaulay...has written an important book which answers many questions concerning the enfant terrible of Nicaragua...He clearly demonstrates that the creed of Latin American nationalism sustained the indomitable guerrillero of the Segovias in his ruthless and protracted campaign against interventionism...Every Latin Americanist should consider the implications of The Sandino Affair, and it should be required reading for high Washington officialdom. The inability of the Americans to understand Sandino may symbolize the failure of the United States in Latin America. Hispanic American Historical Review, February 1968

REVIEW: Neill Macaulay has written an excellent and timely book about an early counter-insurgency expedition of American imperialism...In these pages, the peasant guerrilla army of that native patriot, General Sandino, comes back to life. So do the columns of the U.S. Marines sent - in the era of dollar diplomacy - to bring Sandino to heel...American airplanes bombed villages from which there had been hostile fire. American pilots deliberately destroyed crops to deprive the guerrillas of supplies. The Augogiro, forerunner of the helicopter, was tested against guerrilla columns and its efficiency proved...With guerrilla forces now emergent in vast areas of Latin America, The Sandino Affair becomes required reading for Americans. Transaction, November 1967

REVIEW: The Sandino Affair is really first rate history, one of those curious texts that appear without fanfare and soon begin showing up on the shelves of movers of events...Sandino's campaign was a case history in how to drive out foreign troops through patience, persistence and propaganda - while every major military confrontation was being won by the foreign troops...Macaulay's book is an excellent primer in guerrilla warfare - what it is, how it wins, how to fight it. San Francisco Examiner, March 1967

REVIEW: The ghost of a Nicaraguan guerrilla warrior, Sandino, still haunts the United States in its foreign affairs. A 32-year-old University of Florida history professor parades that ghost across the pages of a compelling book, The Sandino Affair..."The fact that they were unable to put down Sandino's rebellion does not discredit the Marines," Dr. Macaulay writes. "They were given an impossible task: to win a war that had no military solution." Miami Hearld, 11 March 1967

REVIEW: What is it like to be a guerrilla? Neill Macaulay, assistant professor of history at the University of Florida, ought to know: he spent several months in the Sierra de los Organos of Cuba with the guerrillas of Fidel Castro. This experience, coupled with thorough research, has made it possible for him to write a perceptive biography of the forerunner of modern guerrillas, Augusto C. Sandino...In his well-written "The Sandino Affair", Macaulay has attempted to present a balanced, unbiased study of the activities of the "Nicaraguan Caesar." He has succeeded admirably. Inter-American Review of Bibliography, October-December 1968

REVIEW: A succinct and interesting account of American intervention in a Nicaraguan civil war in the late 1920's, a historical parallel to the recent landing of U.S. troops in the Dominican Republic. The Nicaraguan guerrilla rebel leader was Augusto C. Sandino, a general whose colorful life is less well known than it deserves to be. It was President Calvin Coolidge who ordered the American Marines to pacify the country; his deputy, whose portrait here is somewhat unfavorable, was Henry L. Stimson... The author, who knows Latin America well, served with Fidel Castro's guerrillas in Cuba from September, 1958, to January, 1959. He broke with the Castro forces over the issue of Communism. Publishers' Weekly, 26 December 1966

REVIEW: Although this book deals with the little-known U.S. intervention in Nicaragua during the period 1925-1933, its lesson that political dissatisfaction which leads to guerrilla warfare is rarely cured by conventional military means is particularly pertinent today. Augusto Sandino, a liberal Nicaraguan insurgent, proved this to be so by holding out for years against the elite of the U.S. Marine Corps. This is his story, imaginatively and suspensefully told by a young Latin American scholar and ex-Castro guerrilla. Although the book will not be widely read, it does carry an important message relating both to Cuba and to Vietnam. As Mr. Macauley points out, solutions to political and social problems must first be found before insurgencies can safely be laid to rest. For libraries with Latin American interests and for collections in guerrilla warfare. Library Journal, 1 February 1967

REVIEW: "It began," according to the preface, "when a military coup overthrew the popularly elected government of a small Caribbean republic"... The Dominican Republic, 1965? No. This is 1927, Nicaragua. Sandino? He was the only insurgent who refused an enforced peace, who took his handful of ragged soldiers into the mountains and discovered the basic techniques of modern guerrilla warfare. Meanwhile U.S. military and political leaders...were discovering the basic techniques of counter-insurgency, and also the sad fact that these cannot succeed. For six years it went on, until the U.S. gave up and went home. Only then was Sandinismo crushed, through trickery which established a dictator whose family still rules there with U.S. blessing today. Mr. Macaulay has written a balanced, scholarly, incisive book about the whole affair, driving home every point in the lesson we never seem to learn. Kirkus Reviews, December 1966

REVIEW: Neill Macauley, a University of Florida history teacher who fought briefly in Castro's rebel army, has strengthened American scholarship with the first full-length study in English of Sandino and his campaigns. It is an absorbing and, to some, possibly an ominous story... Macauley's thesis is that U.S. tactics in Vietnam are the same as those employed vainly against Sandino. If he is right, the war in Southeast Asia may be longer than any of us would like to believe. Detroit Free Press, 26 March 1967

REVIEW: The author, a history professor who fought with Castro's Cuban Rebel Army, is admirably objective in this account of a chapter of American history particularly relevant today. The United States enjoyed a degree of military success in its attempt to bring internal stability to Nicaragua, but it suffered political disaster. The legacy of the occupation was the Somoza dictatorship. St. Louis Post Dispatch, 9 April 1967

REVIEW: Augusto Sandino, endowed with the indefinable elements of charisma, a doughty fighter against well-organized forces with modern equipment, emerged after six years (1927-1933) unconquered, unrepentant, and still a nationalist. For despite enticing overtures, Sandino, the Nicaraguan patriot-bandit-hero, purged his forces of communist influences. This is the story of insurgency and guerrilla warfare against a weak nation allied and supported by the United States... It is possible to declare the armed intervention in Nicaragua as militarily successful although Sandino never surrendered to the Marines. Yet there was, in its ultimate consequences, tragedy, if not failure. It was Bernard Fall, the historian who died in February 1967 while in Vietnam, who declared Macaulay's work to be "a stark reminder of past mistakes which are still being repeated down to the minutest detail." Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, June 1967

REVIEW: This is a vivid and factual account of General Sandino's six years of guerrilla warfare, from 1927 to 1933, against the government troops of Nicaragua and the US Marines. The guerrilla tactics developed by General Sandino were later used by Fidel Castro in Cuba and the Vietminh and Viet Cong in Vietnam. Generals Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller and Matthew B. Ridgway received "their basic training" in guerrilla warfare against Sandino in Nicaragua. This is a valuable book on guerrilla warfare and the politico-military aspects of pacification. The author points out our mistakes in Nicaragua, and that we are still making some of them today. Military Review, August 1967

REVIEW: The bulk of "The Sandino Affair" is devoted to a detailed and well documented account of Sandino's guerrilla campaign and of the combined Marine and Guardia efforts to defeat him. Special attention is devoted to such subjects as Sandino's brief sojourn in Mexico, and the attempts to develop the use of air power in anti-guerrilla operations. Macaulay has done an excellent job of organizing the material in this section, weaving the political and military events into [sic] Nicaragua into a single coherent pattern... The merits of his book...clearly outweigh its shortcomings. It makes a major, and long overdue contribution to our understanding of the military and political involvement of the United States in Latin America not only in the 1920s and 30s, but at the present time as well. Military Affairs, Summer 1967

REVIEW: Sandino, the guerrilla leader of Nicaragua, fought the U.S. Marines for six years (1927-33) under the guise of a "patriot" battling "Yankee imperialism" and gained world fame... The viewpoint of Macaulay is that the U.S. should not interfere in Latin America, regardless of who is attempting to seize power...The book clearly reveals that the fighting in Nicaragua, long before and during the Sandino period, was merely a power struggle. The book gives an excellent account of Sandino's guerrilla warfare against the U.S. Marines. The Nicaraguan emerges in this book as a hero, which he has long been in some quarters in Latin America. But Macaulay's attempt to picture him as anything but a savage fails. Sandino, like Pancho Villa of Mexico, who has also been converted into a hero, struck terror into the hearts of his enemies by fiendish cruelty. Newsday, 14 September 1967

REVIEW: "The Sandino Affair"...is about the kind of hero Americans of an earlier day loved to gather to their bosoms... Sandino held off the Marines for six years; the Marines were equally valiant as Sandino's guerrillas, but had no business to be where they were. Modern weapons were stymied by Sandino's hit-run tactics. When the Marines at last withdrew...Sandino was cajoled into laying down his arms. At the "peace dinner" in the presidential palace Somoza's strong-arm men seized Sandino, and standing before headlights of some cars on a deserted airfield, he was executed... Neill Macaulay has made an exciting episode in hemispheric history live again. Long Beach Press-Telegram, 4 June 1967

REVIEW: A fine book about the U.S. Marines' pacification of Nicaragua, 1927-33, by a Citadel graduate who served with Fidel Castro and now teaches history at Florida. Macaulay has seen all the major documents, except those captured with the rebel leader, Augusto Sandino, but many of these were printed by our man, Anastasio Somoza, to show his own achievements. Sandino was the illegitimate son of a liberal landowner, Somoza, the son of a middling farmer with enough money to send him to Philadelphia where he met his wife and picked up English which sold his side to the Americans... A fine book on an early pacification which used air power and cost less than 150 Marine casualties. Since each military episode is, by definition, a particular problem, the wider lessons, except for nonintervention, are dubious. A must for any library with a Latin-American or military history collection. Choice, April 1968


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