ISLAND IN THE CITY, by Dan Wakefield. Houghton Mifflin
Dan Wakefield has written a fine human document about the 600,000 Puerto Ricans in New York City. It is a little on the sentimental side (perhaps in reaction to those who have seen these people as so many faceless ciphers); but never mind. Considering the widespread prejudice and open hostility which these people have suffered from since they began to arrive in 1945, Wakefield can easily be forgiven a tendency to overplay his hand; the reader’s common sense will redress the balance. And if there are any doubts on the need for elementary humane emotions, consider the strike of the employees in the so-called New York City charity hospitals. The wealthy philanthropic benefactors, donating their administrative and charitable services, took an attitude toward their Puerto Rican employees (now the bulk of the nonprofessional hospital workers) which has a long history. In fact, it dates back to the day 500 years ago when Columbus enslaved the first Indian to carry water to his ships and commanded his chief to lead him to gold.
That Dan Wakefield’s approach to this latest minority problem (he’ll probably object to that term, and rightly so) is diffe...
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