What’s On Our Nightstands: Target Culebra


Target Culebra: How 743 Islanders Took on the Entire U.S. Navy and Won (La Editorial Universidad de Puerto Rico) narrates the undertakings of Washington-based lawyer Richard D. Copaken, while representing the Municipality of Culebra, Puerto Rico, in his efforts to evict the U.S. Navy from lands it used through the 1970’s to carry out military training with live munitions. This memoir details the brilliant legal strategy and grass-roots efforts which paved the way for Washington to learn of the injustices the military inflicted on the residents of Culebra. After convincing many in Congress and the Pentagon that the military exercises were ideal in the context of World War II but not in the technological challenges of the second half of the 20th century, and beginning of the 21st, Copaken saw the fruits of his efforts when he and the 743 resident on the island celebrated the departure of the U.S. military from the disputed lands. As Joe Trento (author of The Secret History of the C.I.A.) states, “The object lesson in this story is that truth can trump power – even the power of the Navy.” 
Richard D. Copaken, served as a White House Fellow in President Lyndon B. Johnson’s White House. For thirty-nine years thereafter, he engaged in the practice of international law at the Washington, D.C. law firm of Convington and Burling. Copaken graduated from Harvard Law School, where he served as editor of the Harvard Law Review. His writings have appeared in professional journals as well as in newspapers and magazines such as the Los Angeles Times, The Christian Science Monitor, and the now defunct The San Juan Star. Also an artist, his paintings have been exhibited in Japan, Brazil, Switzerland, and in the United States.

For book ordering information and foreword, see http://www.laeditorialupr.com/latiendita/p-952-target-culebra-how-743-islanders-took-on-the-entire-us-navy-and-won.aspx

For full book review by Alba Gómez Escudero (in Spanish), see http://www.laeditorialupr.com/latiendita/images/document/copaken.pdf

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