Brother's Keeper Book uri icon


  • © 2008 by Oxford University Press, Inc. All rights reserved. This book is an international history of the relations between the United States, Britain, and the West Indies during the long decolonization of the latter. It draws on archives in seven countries to recover the story of that process, which resulted in the first new nations in the hemisphere-Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago-since the turn of the century. The process had begun amid depression, riot, and World War II, and it concluded at the moment of highest tension in the Cold War Caribbean. Moreover, the islands were a historical fount of black radicalism, which coursed intermittently through the hemisphere as the civil rights movement made the issue of American race relations particularly acute. In addition, the structure built to bring the islands to independence-the West Indies Federation-unexpectedly collapsed at perhaps the worst possible moment. Yet despite these ominous circumstances, the West Indian transition to independence was ultimately among the smoothest seen anywhere in the "Third World." It avoided the bloodshed that accompanied the end of empire in many areas, and avoided the U.S. military intervention so historically promiscuous around the Caribbean littoral. This book argues that a unique "protean partnership" between the U.S. and the West Indies, one which complemented the Anglo-American relationship, explains the smooth transition. That partnership encompassed the U.S. pursuit of national-security assets such as military bases and strategic materials, the give-and-take of formal Anglo-American diplomacy, and the informal "diaspora diplomacy" of transnational race-activism that nurtured West Indian nationalism and the African American freedom struggle alike. This study contributes to the literatures on inter-American relations, race and foreign affairs, the Cold War, and decolonization.

author list (cited authors)

  • Parker, J. C

citation count

  • 27

complete list of authors

  • Parker, Jason C

publication date

  • May 2008