This is an amazing and unusual story. It is primarily about how the mob ran Havana's casino business, but this story is inseparable from the story of the Cuban Revolution that ended it all. It's a great piece of history to learn about, especially given recent events between the US and Cuba.
Some listeners complained about the plain delivery style. I would agree that it is pretty dry, but it didn't bother me. It is non-fiction, after all.
My only complaint about the narration is that it was not done by a native Spanish speaker. The narrator learned the basic rules, so it wasn't the worst I've heard. But can be a little challenging to unravel some of the the names of songs and people (for example, in the song title "Como Fue", somehow "fue" ends up having two syllables).
Overall, I highly recommend it. The subject matter is of course, at least R-rated. It would not be a good choice for your family vacation with elementary-school kids.
This is a well told historical narrative of the American mobs involvement in Cuba following WWII, and goes up until the Cuban Revolution led by Fidel Castro. I enjoyed the entire book.
I decided to use my time being laid up to get smarter! In 18 months I've listened to over 200 books, mostly history, literature & biography.
Cuban mafia vs Fidel Castro
So much to learn. The last line said the mobsters wanted Havana to be a party that never ended but turned out to be a hangover.
The narrator butchered both the Spanish and the English, but other than that was passable as a storyteller.
I will recommend Audible to anyone who loves multi-tasking. I am able to learn while being active. It takes away my stress, totally!
I finally undertood what happened to Havana, Cuba. I go blank when there's news about Cuba and Fidel Castro. The mob running a country? It happened and hopefully history does not repeat itself.
BTW: The book is not concentreated on Castro but how the mob was able to control the economy of a country.
Nice historical review of an interesting period. Good mafia stories and interesting to hear about Cuba's history.
Story that sounds like a perfect screenplay, but was all true. Pre-communist Cuba had something for everyone: gambling entertainment,and live sex shows. Made Las Vegas look like a church potluck.
Whenever I read a 'history' that has pages and pages of 'a popular legend has it that' or some variation on simply repeating stories that have no more validity than horoscopes, well, I wonder what I was thinking when I decided to make the purchase. In this case, I was interested in Cuba and how certain members of the mob became part of its pre-Castro government.
This book is about that - but is rife with lurid stories about prostitutes and murders. For example, this guy wants you to believe that Frank Sinatra had to go all the way to Cuba to find a woman to go to bed with him - really?
I gave it a two because I did get through 80% of it - so it must have been a half decent listen
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.