Recounting the history of the American "empire" in the Caribbean Basin, the author stresses that the United States failed not so much because of the use of force (the whole undertaking was rather reluctant at best), but because of cultural and psychological realities: "Striving to teach by example, they found it necessary to denigrate the cultural values of those whom they had come to save." Their presence thus stripped Caribbean peoples of their dignity and "constituted an unspoken American judgment of Caribbean inferiority. . . ."