This second edition of America’s Virgin Islands by William W. Boyer is the only history of the United States’ territory covering the period from 1492 to 2010. Especially emphasized is the period since 1917 when the U.S. acquired the Islands from Denmark. Constituting three small Caribbean islands—St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John—each is unique, but together they are widely known as a favorite tourist destination featuring sun, sand and surf.
In many respects, the territory is a microcosm of the human family. The diversity of its physical environment is matched by the diversity of its people. The focal point of the book is a record of the struggle of the Islanders’ greater number as slaves, then serfs, and lastly as citizens to gain control of their own destiny. Broadly conceived, this is a history of human rights and human wrongs. The author does not merely portray the history of the Islands and their people; he also shows how the Islanders share the same aspirations as other colonial subjects. In so doing he taps previously unused sources.
The relationship between the USA and the Virgin Islands has been marked by indifference and vacillation on the part of American officials. Moreover, the thousands of tourists who flock to the territory annually are unaware of the Islands’ checkered and rich history. For many, the Islands are simply a tropical paradise. America’s Virgin Islands is a fascinating, extensively documented, and detailed source of information, valuable to those interested in a political and cultural perspective, to those interested in African American or Caribbean history, and likewise to those who live in or visit the Islands.
“I had been hoping for a second edition of Dr. Boyer's 1983 book, and it does deliver a concise updating of the major political, constitutional, and socio-economic developments of the U. S. Virgin Islands during the last three decades.” — Marilyn F. Krigger, Ph.D., Professor Emerita of History, University of the Virgin Islands
“ . . . remarkable scholarship. Clearly this work will be a hallmark for all studies of the islands now and in the future.” — Gerard Mangone, former provost of Temple, author of The Overseas Americans and emeritus distinguished professor at University of Delaware