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Books to Read Before Travelling to Cuba

books to read travel cuba

Books to read before travelling to Cuba

There are certainly some classics you cannot miss such as anything by Louis A Pérez. Hemingway is often associated with Cuba as he spent much of his time here, the old man and the sea was written in Cuba. There is also the famous The Motorcycle Diaries, which is not to be miss, be it the book or movie.

 

Keep an eye out for our movies, books and music series as well as other countries coming soon.

In this collection of her diary entries, housewife Isadora Tattlin describes the four years she and her family spent living in Cuba in the 1990s while the Communist country was adjusting to a liberalized economy and a shift in tourist policy. This book contains her extraordinary insights into life in Cuba during the late 90's and the period in time of peace.

Read it here >>

Castro vividly portrays Che, the man, the revolutionary and the thinker, describing in detail his last days with Che in Cuba, giving a remarkably frank assessment of the Bolivian mission.

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On many of your travels you are sure to hear about people who have conforted to buddihism in Bali or India or wherever their spiritual retreat was. They will be wearing hippy pants and have a om tatoo on their wrist and you wonder if there is something to all this or if it is just another fad. That is where this book comes into play...

While much has been written about them both, surprisingly little is known about their personalities, and even less about the 12 years of their unique and highly consequential relationship, during which they linked arms in one of the world’s greatest revolutionary movements. Fidel and Che follows them on their dramatic journey from the safe houses of Mexico’s political underground in the 1950s, where they began hatching their plan for revolution, to the theatre of war in the Cuban mountains, to the paneled offices of a new government (the Bay of Pigs and Cuban Missile crises happened on their watch), and to the eventual rupture of their friendship, as Che left Cuba to pursue his revolutionary dreams, only to be assassinated by the CIA in 1966.

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Guidebooks, locals and fellow tourists will warn you: Stay away from jineteros. But who are they, and how does the world of jineterismo function? Megan Daigle’s book of what she calls “sex-affective relations between Cubans and foreigners” recounts the murky intersection between race, state intervention and the exploitative nature of sex-buying foreigners. Yes, you might tire of the sex propositions along Havanna’s malecón (esplanade), but at least they’ll come with much more context.

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This entertaining history of Cuba and its music begins with the collision of Spain and Africa and continues through the era of Miguelito Valdés, Arsenio Rodríguez, Benny Moré, and Pérez Prado. It offers a behind-the-scenes examination of music from a Cuban point of view, unearthing surprising, provocative connections and making the case that Cuba was fundamental to the evolution of music in the New World.

 

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Just what kind of country is Cuba really? Behind all of the political intrigue, and the sanctions, who are the people of Cuba and why is tourism so important to this proud island?

In Breath: Stories from Cuba, Leila Segal delves into the heart of the country, behind the faded facades with their peeling paint and the rusty American cars, to find its soul. The music, the sense of community and the remarkable strength of its people are the beating heart of a country with so much to offer.

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This is the book where you’ll find “deep Cuba,” explains Cuban journalist Abraham Jiménez Enoa. Here are stories by 12 writers — six Cuban, six foreigners — that explore versions of contemporary Cuban history often left undiscussed, such as long-distance relationships split by tight borders and a cultural love of baseball. Told through multiple perspectives, the stories represented in this book humanize the people who live these realities.

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A swashbuckling tale set in the Caribbean world at the time of the French revolution, Explosion in a Cathedral focuses on Victor Hugues, a historical figure who led the naval assault to take back the island of Guadeloupe from the English at the beginning of the nineteenth century. In Carpentier's telling, this piratical figure walks into the lives of the wealthy orphans Esteban and Sofia and casts them abruptly into the midst of the immense changes sweeping the world outside their Havana mansion.

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Since 1959, conflict and aggression have dominated the story of U.S.-Cuban relations. From John F. Kennedy's offering of an olive branch to Fidel Castro after the missile crisis, to Henry Kissinger's top-secret quest for normalization, to Barack Obama's promise of a "new approach," William M. LeoGrande and Peter Kornbluh reveal a fifty-year record of dialogue and negotiations, both open and furtive, indicating a path toward better relations in the future.

LeoGrande and Kornbluh have uncovered hundreds of formerly secret U.S. documents and conducted interviews with dozens of negotiators, intermediaries, and policy makers. The authors describe how, despite the political clamor surrounding any hint of better relations with Havana, serious negotiations have been conducted by every presidential administration since Eisenhower's through secret, back-channel diplomacy.

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After the death of her beloved grandmother, a Cuban-American woman travels to Havana, where she discovers the roots of her identity--and unearths a family secret hidden since the revolution...

Havana, 1958. The daughter of a sugar baron, nineteen-year-old Elisa Perez is part of Cuba's high society, where she is largely sheltered from the country's growing political unrest--until she embarks on a clandestine affair with a passionate revolutionary...

Miami, 2017. Freelance writer Marisol Ferrera grew up hearing romantic stories of Cuba from her late grandmother Elisa, who was forced to flee with her family during the revolution. Elisa's last wish was for Marisol to scatter her ashes in the country of her birth.

Arriving in Havana, Marisol comes face-to-face with the contrast of Cuba's tropical, timeless beauty and its perilous political climate. When more family history comes to light and Marisol finds herself attracted to a man with secrets of his own, she'll need the lessons of her grandmother's past to help her understand the true meaning of courage.

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Based on over 100 hours of interviews with Fidel Castro conducted over three years, Fidel Castro: My Life is as close to a memoir as we will ever get from the Cuban leader. Here Castro speaks with raw frankness about the events of his extraordinary life and the legacy he hopes to leave behind.

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If there is one book you are going to read, this should be the one. An autobiographical story about the author's experiences as part of Operation Peter Pan. The author was one of 14,000 children taken by their parents and shipped to the USA.

Get the book here >>

Cuba has long fascinated, mystified, and frustrated Americans. Now, in this sweeping work, Louis A. PE rez Jr. transforms the way we view Cuba and its relationships with the United States. Drawing from an enormous range of sources, including archival records, oral interviews, and examples from popular culture, PE rez reveals a powerful web of everyday, bilateral connections between Cuba and the United States. He shows how America's cultural and political forms profoundly influenced Cuba's identity, nationality, and sense of modernity from the early 1850s, when the island was still a Spanish colony, until the revolution that erupted in 1959. In exploring Cuba's encounter with the United States, PE rez articulates the cultural context for that revolution, tracing it to the country's growing dissatisfaction at not having kept pace with America's own rampant prosperity and modernization.

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In Last Dance in Havana by Rosanna Ley, Eliza and Duardo dance the rumba and fall in love in downtown Havana. But their fate is for them not to be together for Elisa is sent to England and Duardo joins the revolution as a rebel.

This novel is a terrific guide to the sights and sounds of revolutionary Havana and asks the question that confronts every visitor to the island: Does the passion for Cuba ever really leave a person?

The rumba was the dance of freed blacks on the island as well as those who still worked on sugar plantations so the passion in the music represents the story of the people who share its history. The rumba club where Duardo and Elisa dance is said to be just off the Malecon, along San Lazaro and among the backstreets

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This researched memoir illuminates, in a breathtakingly literary way, the daily struggles, joys and contradictions of the lives of the last generation to grow up under Fidel Castro in Havana. While also touching on important moments in contemporary Cuban history, Cooke uses seven interviewees to illustrate aspects of modern Cuban society — from jineterismo (swindling or prostitution) to practicing Santeria (an Afro-Caribbean religion) to representing Cuba as an international musician. It’ll make you wonder what side hustles your tour guide gets up to and what tricks are keeping your 1950s taxi running.

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Here is a fresh story behind this passionate, struggling, frequently discouraged, but always proud country, told by ordinary Cuban citizens—the people who still struggle with a revolution that is far from over. Sparked during his high school and college years by his admiration of the Cuban revolution—the first successful bourgeois revolution of the twentieth century—C. Peter Ripley subsequently developed a fascination with Cuban culture that took him on five illegal trips to the struggling country between 1991 and 1997. During his travels, Ripley visited and revisited the Cuban landscape and its people, closely following the lives of citizens who were deeply influenced by the revolution and its effects. Through his experiences and observations, Ripley taps into the reality behind his long-romanticized perceptions of the Cuban Revolution.

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It is 1988 and Rafael Áviles, an engineer at the Cuban Mint in Havana, is a young, earnest Communist Party member living with his ambitious wife, Elena.

When Rafael is drafted to the war in Angola, just as he is about to become a father, he takes a risk to escape the military—convinced he is doing what's best for his country.

As Communist countries around the world begin to see change, Cuba enters its dire Special Period and Rafael's family does what it can to survive. Rafael becomes disenchanted at work and, after a disastrous meeting with Fidel Castro, questions his Party ideals. Finally, he's convinced to do everything in his power to leave the island and improve his family's future.

This is at once a love story—for family and country—as well as a portrait of Havana during this tumultuous time.

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Cuban writer Reinaldo Arenas describes his poverty-stricken childhood in rural, his adolescence as a rebel fighting for Fidel Castro, and his life in revolutionary Cuba as a homosexual. Very quickly the Castro government suppressed his writing and persecuted him for his homosexuality until he was finally imprisoned.

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This best-seller is considered the authoritative source on Che Guevara.

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When Julian's parents make the heartbreaking decision to send him and his two brothers away from Cuba to Miami via the Pedro Pan operation, the boys are thrust into a new world where bullies run rampant and it's not always clear how best to protect themselves.

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Most people are familiar with the general timeline of the Cuban Revolution of 1956-1958: It was led by two of the 20th century's most iconic figures, Fidel Castro and Che Guevara; it successfully overthrew the island nation's US-backed dictator; and it quickly went awry under Castro's rule.

But less is commonly remembered about the amateur nature of the upstart movement, or the lives of its players. In this wildly entertaining and meticulously researched account, Tony Perrottet unravels the human drama behind history's most improbable revolution: a scruffy handful of self-taught revolutionaries--many of them kids just out of college, literature majors, art students and young lawyers, and including a number of women--defeated 40,000 professional soldiers to overthrow the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista. Cuba Libre's deep dive into the revolution reveals fascinating details: How did Fidel's highly organized lover Celia S�nchez whip the male guerrillas into shape? Who were the two dozen American volunteers who joined the Cuban rebels? How do you make lethal land mines from condensed milk cans -- or, for that matter, cook chorizo la guerrilla (sausage guerrilla-style)

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