In a compelling story of the installation and operation of U.S.
bases in the Caribbean colony of Trinidad during World War II,
Harvey Neptune examines how the people of this British island
contended with the colossal force of American empire-building at a
critical time in the island's history.
The U.S. military occupation between 1941 and 1947 came at the same
time that Trinidadian nationalist politics sought to project an
image of a distinct, independent, and particularly un-British
The American intervention, Neptune shows, contributed to a
tempestuous scene as Trinidadians deliberately engaged Yankee
personnel, paychecks, and practices flooding the island. He
explores the military-based economy, relationships between U.S.
servicemen and Trinidadian women, and the influence of American
culture on local music (especially calypso), fashion, labor
practices, and everyday racial politics.
Tracing the debates about change among ordinary and privileged
Trinidadians, he argues that it was the poor, the women, and the
youth who found the most utility in and moved most avidly to make
something new out of the American presence.
Neptune also places this history of Trinidad's modern times into a
wider Caribbean and Latin American perspective, highlighting how
Caribbean peoples sometimes wield "America" and "American ways" as
part of their localized struggles.