Henry Reeve was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1850. At fifteen, too young to join the military, he enlisted in the Union Army as a drummer boy. Three years later, he went on an expedition to Cuba to join the Cuban insurgents fighting the Spanish Army. In his first battle, Reeve and other rebels were captured and executed by firing squad. Miraculously, the Brooklynite survived his wounds, was rescued by Cuban rebels, and joined their fight. By the time he was killed in battle, he was a brigadier general in the Liberation Army. Today almost no one in the United States knows who Henry Reeve was, but just about every Cuban knows his story and admires him.
Amusingly, Reeve is known in Cuba as “the Young Englishman,” because he spoke the English language. But Henry Reeve was an American, and a Brooklyn boy all the way.
The Communist dictatorship in Cuba has gone to great lengths to conceal from its people the role that many Americans played in the liberation of Cuba from Spanish colonialism. The story of this one brave man, the most respected American hero in Cuban history, is an engaging, enthralling read.