Anyone interested in Cuba needs to listen to this book. There is a reason the Cuban people backed Castro in the 50s. Corrupt leader Batista supported the mob run casinos. Havana was the most decadent city in the world and most Cubans were in abject poverty. This is a well researched well written book.
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
I couldn't wait ti get back in the car to listen! T.J. English takes a lot of information and ties it in perfectly. I hope the movie is half as good!
I found this book very disappointing. The old time mafia has always fascinated me and I have read numerous excellent (and some not so excellent) books about it. When English sticks to the mafia he does a nice job, but he ruins what could have been a fantastic and fascinating story with his constant and lengthy quotations from Fidel Castro's manifestos, showing us (just ask Fidel if you don't believe it) what a great change for Cuba he would be. T.J. loses ALL credibility with this nonsense, and his brief mention at the end that Castro didn't live up to expectations doesn't begin to atone for the waste of time it was to listen to it all. I realize you can't write a book about Cuba without talking about Fidel, but English certainly sounds as if he is in sympathy with this brutal tyrant. I can't help but wonder if the author didn't do his 'research' in Havana while sharing a cigar with the dictator. Even though Mel Foster does a nice job of narration I can't recommend this one at all. It's offensive.
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.
I have always heard of the Cuban society as a mix of legend, cliche and myth and it was fascinating to me to get a glimpse of what the life and lifestyle was like.
Offers a fascinating look into an interesting and important period, and provides a real challenge to those who think Castro is evil.
I find a reason to laugh everyday!
The book read like an engrossing novel. My husband and I read it together. Our dinner conversations became enjoyable mini-book club discussions. I highly recommend this book to those who are fascinated with the seamier side of Ameican history, and, of course, the American mob. Great book.
It's really too bad. This could have been a GREAT book if the author had just stuck to being a neutral observer instead of a Castro lover. The history of the mob and their involvement with Cuba is very interesting. However, there is a constant irritation throughout the book, caused by the author's obvious bias in favor of Castro. A simple reading of the facts in his book (filtering out his biased comments and loaded adjectives) will tell you that Batista was an authoritarian and Castro was a totalitarian. Both were bad for the people but Castro was a magnitude worse. However, this apologist for Castro consistently gets it totally the opposite. He also compares gangsters to American industrialists - he can't figure out the difference between legal business competition and murdering your competitors. He thinks that mobsters gaining favors from the government is "capitalism". When he sticks to just the facts, it's a fascinating story. But he was so intent on interjecting his left wing interpretation into every area of the book that it really made it difficult to make it all the way through. And I'm sorry for that because he could have written a classic on Cuba. He had the facts and skill to do so but chose to write a historical propaganda piece instead.