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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

3.9 (466 )
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3.9 (173 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Sean Houston, Texas, United States 01-14-14
    Sean Houston, Texas, United States 01-14-14 Member Since 2004

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bill Browder Ocala, Fl USA 02-09-13
    Bill Browder Ocala, Fl USA 02-09-13 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    47
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    4
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    "Great listen"

    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.

    0 of 0 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
    3
    ratings
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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

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ivan Berger Laguna Niguel, CA, US 08-14-12
    Ivan Berger Laguna Niguel, CA, US 08-14-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    4
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    "Interesting history of gang mobsters in Havana"
    Would you listen to Havana Nocturne again? Why?

    Would have to wait for couple months.


    What did you like best about this story?

    In depth background history of gang mobsters from 20s throujgh early 50s.


    What does Mel Foster bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Pulls relationship of Myer Lansky et al with Fidel Castro. Very interesting dual path within one story


    If you could give Havana Nocturne a new subtitle, what would it be?

    Havana rock n' roll, sex and drugs of the 30s-through 50s


    Any additional comments?

    none

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joseph Bloomfield, NJ, United States 07-23-12
    Joseph Bloomfield, NJ, United States 07-23-12 Member Since 2011
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    1
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    "Fabulous"
    Any additional comments?

    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!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rickapolis Annapolis, Maryland, United States 09-27-11
    Rickapolis Annapolis, Maryland, United States 09-27-11 Member Since 2010

    Rickapolis

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "How did this turn out SO bad?"
    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Craig Tacoma, WA, United States 08-09-10
    Craig Tacoma, WA, United States 08-09-10 Member Since 2008
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    "Those of us who never saw this era, Mesmerizing!"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    cort Kensington, CA, United States 03-21-09
    cort Kensington, CA, United States 03-21-09 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "An excellent history lesson"

    Offers a fascinating look into an interesting and important period, and provides a real challenge to those who think Castro is evil.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Diana Kamuela, HI, United States 01-29-09
    Diana Kamuela, HI, United States 01-29-09 Member Since 2005

    I find a reason to laugh everyday!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fascinating American history"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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