Cover image for Notable Caribbeans and Caribbean Americans : a biographical dictionary
Notable Caribbeans and Caribbean Americans : a biographical dictionary
Mendez-Mendez, Serafín.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Westport, CT : Greenwood Press, 2003.
Physical Description:
xix, 465 pages : illustrations ; 27 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
CT329 .M46 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



This is the first major biographical dictionary devoted exclusively to celebrating Caribbeans and Caribbean Americans who have made significant contributions to their society and beyond. More than 160 profiles feature historical and contemporary figures from every Caribbean island, the United States, and even England and Canada, and from a diverse range of fields such as acting, sports, political activism, and more. Selection criteria included the notable demonstration of a Caribbean ethos or style, combined with a lasting and novel impact. Individual narrative entries discuss family background, education, challenges, and achievements.

The breadth of coverage in "Notable Caribbeans and Caribbean Americans" will enlighten and inspire students and general readers alike. Many lesser known role models, such as labor activist and educator Antonia Pantoja and political philosopher Frantz Fanon, are presented along with engaging portraits of better known personalities like reggae superstar Bob Marley and baseball great Sammy Sosa. Bibliographical sources for further research complement each entry. A wide selection of photographs accompanies the text.

Author Notes

SERAFÍN MÉNDEZ-MÉNDEZ is Associate Professor of Communication at Central Connecticut State University. A native of Puerto Rico, he is the co-author of Puerto Rico Past and Present: An Encyclopedia (Greenwood 1998).

GAIL A. CUETO is Associate Professor of Education at Central Connecticut State University. She is the co-author of Puerto Rico Past and Present: An Encyclopedia (Greenwood 1998).

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Filling a unique niche in reference collections, these two- to three-page biographical sketches are arranged alphabetically and cover 167 Caribbeans from all walks of life, including politicians, artists, scientists, and athletes. Every entry includes references and suggested readings, and appendixes cross-reference the entries according to profession and island of origin. Entrants include Harry Belafonte, Fidel Castro, Hector Hyppolite, and V. S. Naipaul. The editors sought a balance between historical (Jose Marti, Toussaint L'Ouverture,ean Rhys) and contemporary (Jamaicaincaid, Geraldo Rivera, Sammy Sosa) figures. Some prominent Caribbeans, such as Faustin Soulouque and Francois Duvalier, were not included. As stated in the introduction, the volume presents individuals "who have distinguished themselves" and "enriched their islands." The intention may have been to include only those who made a positive contribution, but this does not make for a definitive reference tool. Also excluded are people about whom information is readily available, for example, Colin Powell. However, the biographies that are included are useful, and this volume will be a good addition to high-school, public, and undergraduate reference collections. -- RBB Copyright 2004 Booklist

Library Journal Review

This new biographical dictionary covers over 160 historical and contemporary Caribbeans and Caribbean Americans hailing from a wide range of geographic areas, including all of the Caribbean islands, the United States, Canada, and Europe. Those covered range from sports stars such as Sammy Sosa to musical innovators such as Bob Marley to politicians such as Fidel Castro to writers such as Julia Alvarez. Included are well-known figures (e.g., Oscar de La Renta, Derek Walcott, Harry Belafonte, and V. S. Naipaul) as well as those who do not have name recognition (e.g., labor activist Antonia Pantoja). Each entry consists of a three- to four-page biographical essay, in which the authors (both of whom are affiliated with Central Connecticut State University) discuss the person's family background, education, and accomplishments and provide references to other sources for further reading. In addition, many of the entries are accompanied by black-and-white photographs. Although the publisher bills this dictionary as the first exclusively covering Caribbeans, the biographical information provided here is not ground-breaking, and the entries often repeat what can be found in other sources. Recommended for academic libraries with a perceived need.-Neal Wyatt, Chesterfield Cty. P.L., VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Few biographical reference sources cover specifically the diverse people of Caribbean origin. The authors supply biographical information for 167 highly regarded Caribbeans and Caribbean Americans in various fields (e.g., politics, literature, education, sports). Mendez Mendez and Cueto acknowledge that some well-known figures (Colin Powell, Malcolm X) have been excluded but claim that their "first priority was to highlight individuals whose lives and works have not been heavily researched"--an admirable aim, making it surprising to find an entry for Fidel Castro. Entries average two and a half pages in length, some include a black-and-white photograph, and nearly all conclude with a list of references and suggested readings. Most subjects were living during the 20th and 21st centuries; a small handful made their marks in the 18th and 19th. Cross-references in entries are printed in boldface. Indexes list subjects by profession and by island of origin. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. General readers; lower-division undergraduates. S. Jent University of Louisville

Table of Contents

Encyclopedic Entries
Appendix: Fields of Professional Activity
Appendix: Individuals Profiled by Island of Origin or Roots