Alfred J. López's new book, José Martí: A Revolutionary Life from University of Texas Press, is the first biography written about the polarizing Cuban revolutionary in over half a century and the first ever in English. For as academic a subject as Martí could be in the hands of a professor, López's historical narrative of the figure and his continued influence in the post-colonial Americas flows with the parabolic ease of exhaustive research.
A former professor at Florida International University, López currently instructs as professor of English and Comparative Literature at Purdue University. Though he was born in New York City to Cuban parents, López grew up in '70s Miami and has an irreverent, firsthand view of the Havana-Miami divide in pre- and post-Mariel South Florida.
Ahead of his panel at the Miami Book Fair International, "Alfred J. López on José Martí: A Revolutionary Life, Luis Martinez-Fernández on Revolutionary Cuba: A History and Alina García-Lapuerta on La Belle Créole: The Cuban Countess Who Captivated Havana, Madrid and Paris," we got the chance to have an in-depth discussion on Martí, his global status, and Cuban-American identity.