(MENAFN- News 21) Silver Spring, MD, August 3, 2022 — Like many “statesiders,” Robert Friedman was first introduced to the people and culture of Puerto Rico when he watched the film version of West Side Story (in which, incidentally, only one Puerto Rican had a major role: Rita Moreno). Friedman would later call Puerto Rico home for several decades and go on to interview Leonard Bernstein himself in the Caribe Hilton Hotel in 1965.
“I figured that there must be more to this small, 100-by-35-mile home to some 3 million sort-of U.S. citizens (minus certain rights, like voting representation in Congress and casting ballots for president) than meets the average American eye,” Friedman wrote in the introduction to his new book, Puerto Rico 1965-1990: A Quarter Century of Highlights, Hope, Status and Stasis.
Friedman lived in Puerto Rico from the mid-1960s through the 1970s and 1980s, the years he spent there as a journalist for the San Juan Star newspaper.
Far from an encompassing history, Puerto Rico 1965-1990 is Friedman’s vivid and nostalgic memoir of the era, a journalist-eye view of life decades ago in the U.S. quasi-colony.
“When I settled in at the Star and in my new home-away-from-home in Old San Juan, I was as ignorant as most statesiders about the life, history, culture and the hard and colorful times of the people and the place,” Friedman added.
In his book, he shares his impressions of the island and its people, plus articles he wrote for the San Juan Star. He also includes stories based on his interviews with Leonard Bernstein, Jackie Kennedy, Mohammed Ali, Jose Ferrer and other cultural icons. Along the way, he gives readers an understanding of the humane, colorful and difficult life lived by the island’s residents, as it was when he was there, and from all accounts, remains the same today.
Puerto Rico 1965-1990 immerses readers in a time and place rich with both culture and contradictions.
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