The Island: The Making and Unmaking of Modern Puerto Rico (Hardcover)

Pre-Order Now Badge
The Island: The Making and Unmaking of Modern Puerto Rico By Gabe Gutierrez Cover Image
Not Yet Published


NBC News Senior White House Correspondent Gabe Gutierrez offers a forceful, necessary exposé on the precarious realities and politics of modern Puerto Rico, detailing the decade of financial exploitation, federal negligence, and American ambivalence that pushed the most populous US territory to the brink and examining what must be done to insure the island’s survival.

On September 16, 2017, Hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico as a Category 4 storm, leaving the island devastated and largely without power for weeks. Slow to respond to the severity of the storm and the logistics of the island’s geographic isolation, the Trump administration faced harsh criticism for its lack of preparedness. While Maria exposed the federal government’s ineptitude and inability to aid Puerto Rico in its time of greatest need, the storm also laid bare a crisis decades in the making, a slow-motion train wreck of American neglect, institutional exploitation, and financial ruin.

Now veteran NBC News reporter Gabe Gutierrez, who has covered the island’s storms and its people for years, tells the urgent story of how Puerto Rico came to this precarious moment in its history, uncovering how decades of failed US policies have culminated in the tumultuous last ten years. Whether it’s the US hedge funds who leveraged the island into bankruptcy, or the federal bureaucracy that has robbed the island of the autonomy to shape its own destiny, the mismanagement of Puerto Rico has stretched across presidential administrations and political parties.

As The Island reveals, with each passing year, with each storm, this negligence comes at a steeper price to US taxpayers, but more importantly to those who live there. With moving portraits of the people working to preserve Puerto Rico for future generations, Gutierrez demonstrates the human cost that accompanies lack of representation in Washington and the toll it takes on everyday Puerto Ricans as they fight to keep their vibrant island home.

What emerges is an eye-opening narrative of American ambivalence about an island so deeply tied to our uncomfortable, imperial past. A seasoned journalist’s ambitious examination of what it takes to change American institutions, The Island shows how our failure to care adequately for Puerto Rico is a failure to reckon with our own history.

About the Author

Gabe Gutierrez is an NBC News Senior White House Correspondent covering all aspects of the Biden administration. He has reported for all the network’s platforms, including TODAY, NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, MSNBC, NBC News NOW, CNBC, Telemundo and He was part of the NBC Nightly News team that earned an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University award for its coverage of the 2013 tornado that tore through Moore, Oklahoma. Since then, he’s reported on historic floods, wildfires, riots and mass killings. During the 2016 presidential campaign, he joined NBC’s political team covering the Republican primaries. In 2017, he reported from Charlottesville, Virginia, after a deadly white nationalist rally. Then, he covered back-to-back-to-back hurricanes: Harvey in Texas; Irma in Florida; and Maria in Puerto Rico. In 2020 and 2021, he reported extensively on the coronavirus pandemic, filing reports in hospital ICUs from New York to Washington State. He was also the network’s lead correspondent on the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. In 2022, he traveled to Ukraine to cover Russia’s invasion. In 2023, he reported on the devastating earthquakes in southeastern Turkey. He lives in New York City.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780063336360
ISBN-10: 0063336367
Publisher: Mariner Books
Publication Date: August 15th, 2025
Pages: 320
Language: English