Contrary to the bizarre assertions of one reviewer, who claimed this book suffered from some kind of pro-Castro bias, it actually makes one pine for the pre-revolutionary, hedonistic debauched party town that was havana in the 50's.
In fact, Castro is portrayed as a zealous, buffoonish ideologue.
As I read it, the most sympathetic character in the book was Meyer Lansky, who is portrayed as a wily entrepreneur, and mostly detached from the sleazy dealings of his mobster contemporaries.
Havana in the 50's was a hotbed of dance and musical innovation and the passages which describe the sorts of musical entertainment one could find at the great clubs of the era made me feel that the accompanying vices of gambling, prostitution, as well as the political corruption and oppression were worth it.
Aficionados of organized-crime history will find familiar names and settings here, but with an exotic twist. The backgrounding on Cuban culture and politics was particularly satisfying for me.I knocked off one star from my rating because this treatment didn't rise to the level of truly riveting non-fiction. But listeners just acquainting themselves with true-life characters of the mob should find it more engaging.
The narrator was all right, but his lousy pronunciation of Spanish terms irritated me enough to reduce my rating by another star. Couldn't they get a bilingual narrator for a book so steeped in Spanish language?
I knew something about Cuban history but was brilliantly surprised to discover the intimate relationships shared by Myer Lansky and the US gangsters of the 40's and 50's with the US back Cuban dictator, Fulgencio Batista. If you liked the Godfather 1 and 2 you will absolutely love this book. Excellent narration!
We are mostly familiar with the "evil" dictatorship of Fidel Castro but not so much the reasons that brought him to power. The man who ruled before Castro has been mostly forgotten. But this book tells of Batista's rise to power and the influence of organized crime in his regime. It traces the history of the mob bosses in the United States and their move to create a national government in Cuba that they could control. Through research and personal interviews the author weaves the tale and keeps it highly iteresting.
This is an excellent chronicle of the Mob in Havanna as I've never read before. If you're fascinated with mobsters and their connections to Hollywood and the political stage, this book tells the story like a Baldacci novel. I have a new understanding of Castro and am intrigued to find out more.
I don't know much about pre-Castro Havana or the Cuban Revolution, but I thought this was a good introduction. The description of the gangsters and their relationships to the Batista regime were very detailed. It is clear that the author interviewed several people who were eye witnesses, including Meyer Lansky's driver. They seem to feel some nostalgia for the era. I imagine the depiction of the revolution will not please everyone since it is rather sympathetic but I thought it was very interesting. The narration was well-done.
I wanted some background history of Cuba before I travel there but sometimes history can be dry. This book was fascinating--well written and well orated. It gave me a great perspective on the convoluted relationship the US and Cuba have had for decades. I had no previous idea of the role the American Mob played in their history. I have recommended this book to several friends.
Haven't but will in the future.
Say something about yourself!
I want to like the book, but it comes across as fairly dry, despite the sometimes exciting material.
My download has a production problem in that 2 hours in part 1 are repeated. I'm not sure if that's a Blackstone problem or an Audible problem.
yes the mobs payoffs to goverment
JFK's time in Cuba
the meeting Charlie lucky and friends
a great book about Cuba
Would have to wait for couple months.
In depth background history of gang mobsters from 20s throujgh early 50s.
Pulls relationship of Myer Lansky et al with Fidel Castro. Very interesting dual path within one story
Havana rock n' roll, sex and drugs of the 30s-through 50s