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Havana Nocturne: How the Mob Owned Cuba...and Then Lost It to the Revolution | [T. J. English]

Havana Nocturne: How the Mob Owned Cuba...and Then Lost It to the Revolution

Havana Nocturne takes listeners back to Cuba in the years when it was a veritable devil's playground for mob leaders Meyer Lansky and Charles "Lucky" Luciano. Thanks to strong ties with the island's brutal dictator, President Batista, the mob soon owned the biggest luxury hotels and casinos and launched an unprecedented tourist boom. But their dreams collided with those of Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, and others.
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Publisher's Summary

In Havana Nocturne, T. J. English offers a riveting, multifaceted true tale of organized crime, political corruption, roaring nightlife, revolution, and international conflict that interweaves the dual stories of the mob in Havana and the event that would overshadow it: the Cuban Revolution.

Bringing together long-buried historical information and English's own research in Havana - including interviews with the era's key survivors - Havana Nocturne takes listeners back to Cuba in the years when it was a veritable devil's playground for mob leaders Meyer Lansky and Charles "Lucky" Luciano. Thanks to strong ties with the island's brutal dictator, President Batista, the mob soon owned the biggest luxury hotels and casinos and launched an unprecedented tourist boom.

But their dreams collided with those of Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, and others who would lead the country's disenfranchised to overthrow their corrupt government and its foreign partners - an epic cultural battle that English captures in all its sexy, decadent, ugly glory.

©2008 T. J. English; (P)2008 Tantor

What the Critics Say

"English's engaging narrative reads with the gripping quality of fiction: the dark underworld of Havana comes to life....Highly recommended." (Library Journal)
"Crime writer English...unfolds a story whose main outline will be familiar to any fan of The Godfather: Part II, but whose twists and turns no screenplay could keep up with." (Kirkus Reviews)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (694 )
5 star
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4.1 (383 )
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1 star
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4.1 (377 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    craig calgary, Alberta, Canada 02-24-11
    craig calgary, Alberta, Canada 02-24-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "fun read"

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lila Northport, AL, United States 08-02-10
    Lila Northport, AL, United States 08-02-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fascinating"

    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?

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Harold Moraga, CA, USA 02-27-10
    Harold Moraga, CA, USA 02-27-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Lansky and the Cuban Mob bosses"

    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!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ron Lecanto, FL, USA 02-28-09
    Ron Lecanto, FL, USA 02-28-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fascinating history of corruption"

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Debra Goshen, IN, United States 01-21-09
    Debra Goshen, IN, United States 01-21-09 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Understanding the Mob"

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Judith 12-07-08
    Judith 12-07-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I liked this a lot."

    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.

    10 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    HIYBRID 03-31-15
    HIYBRID 03-31-15

    Former steelworker from Buffalo NY retired after 40 yrs. as a Registered Nurse. Viet Vet, did a lot of theater in HS... e-Clectic for sure

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "So that's where my uncles went on vacation"

    Fishing my ass uncle Danny you went to Havana for this. Aunt Millie never knew...
    Nor did any of us guess how incredibly convoluted the mystery was. I never thought that a dollar could stretch so far as to be in the pocket of six mobsters and a president at the same time. Since I grew up on the east coast when this all was happening and the names are all familiar memories this tale of the corruption in Cuba is even more relevant now that we are trying to normalize the last 50 yrs of idiocy. More than adequate narration as well...

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Living the Life 04-02-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Must Read if going to Cuba"
    What did you love best about Havana Nocturne?

    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.


    Have you listened to any of Mel Foster’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Haven't but will in the future.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sean Houston, Texas, United States 01-14-14
    Sean Houston, Texas, United States 01-14-14 Member Since 2009

    Say something about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I want to like it"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marc La Verkin, UT, United States 12-05-12
    Marc La Verkin, UT, United States 12-05-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Mob in Cuba, and how they where destroyed byEl Che"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    yes the mobs payoffs to goverment


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Havana Nocturne?

    JFK's time in Cuba


    Which scene was your favorite?

    the meeting Charlie lucky and friends


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    no


    Any additional comments?

    a great book about Cuba

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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