Laboring for the State explores the relationship between family and state formation in Cuba’s early revolutionary period. Hynson argues that between 1959 and 1971, the revolutionary government implemented an intense program of social engineering to create the “new family.” Through a set of reforms redefining the nuclear family, the revolutionary state consolidated access to citizens’ productive and reproductive labor.

Well-written and grounded in a comprehensive engagement with English-language scholarship about women and gender in twentieth-century Cuba, the book offers a glimpse into some of the most fascinating, intimate, and under-researched aspects of the Cuban Revolution. The book’s four thematic chapters each explore a distinct reform project: the introduction of family planning, encouragment of legal marriage, suppression of prostitution, and promotion of the male breadwinner ideal. By reconstructing these projects, Hynson claims to correct the historical amnesia surrounding the Revolution’s regulation of labor and morality.

The book’s overarching framework examines each...

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