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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 (697 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Ivan Berger 08-14-12
    Ivan Berger 08-14-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Craig Tacoma, WA, United States 08-09-10
    Craig Tacoma, WA, United States 08-09-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Diana Kamuela, HI, United States 01-29-09
    Diana Kamuela, HI, United States 01-29-09 Member Since 2013

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    WriterGirl Washington, D.C. 01-06-09
    WriterGirl Washington, D.C. 01-06-09 Member Since 2005

    WriterGirl

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not For The Narrowminded"

    I love history because I like to understand people and their contributions in the context of their time. Historians write about people who take action, for good or for ill. You don't have to like Lansky, Luciano, Trafficante, Castro, Batista or any of the other characters. But, one should recognize they were all men of action and did what they needed to do to become what they were. It is important that you understand the lessons history presents through their existence. I enjoyed this listen and highly recommend it.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Sun City, AZ, United States 12-29-08
    Michael Sun City, AZ, United States 12-29-08 Member Since 2007
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    "Excellent book on the Mob"

    It was a dream that almost came true for organized crime - a country of there own that could of opened the door to the rest of the world.
    Like most people, my view of the near take over of Cuba by the Mob, was what I saw in the Godfather Part II. It's a case of the real events being ever better than that great movie. This book is an easy and powerful listen, that is loaded with all kinds of interesting tidbits that keeps you wanting to find more - and the author delivers. This is a very good listen, enjoy!

    9 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laurie Calgary, Alberta, Canada 01-07-09
    Laurie Calgary, Alberta, Canada 01-07-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "too long and pompous"

    The narrator's voice is irritating and he sounds like he is pontificating.
    The english grammar and use of language is poor; original work needs to be better written and more importantly, better edited. A third could have been cut which would have greatly improved the story. As a Canadian, I don't mind the left wing point of view but the author throws statements out without sufficient detail to support his arguments or further his story. This can be very irritating.




    8 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    cort Kensington, CA, United States 03-21-09
    cort Kensington, CA, United States 03-21-09
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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.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Inna east brunswick, NJ, USA 09-19-08
    Inna east brunswick, NJ, USA 09-19-08 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Havane Nocturne"

    “Havane Nocturne” is a very entertaining account of Havana mob and all intrigues that were going on in Cuba during the 50-es. It reads like Godfather. However, as far as political analysis of Castro revolution is concern, it is either very na?ve or misleading on purpose. There is no mention of the fact that revolution in Cuba was a communist revolution from the beginning. The author stubbornly avoids the reality that from the beginning Castro movement was supported by KGB both with money and arms and that Soviet advisors trained and advised Castro and his adherents. It is really indigenous that the author did not mention even once a huge role that the Soviet Union played in Cuban revolution. It is sad that the only word of wisdom in this book was spoken by old Meyer Lansky who realized right away that Castro regime would be a communist regime which would bring a lot of suffering, death, hunger, and economic disaster to the country. He said it based on his own experience.

    26 of 43 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Doug D. Eigsti Colorado Springs, Colorado United States 07-06-15
    Doug D. Eigsti Colorado Springs, Colorado United States 07-06-15 Member Since 2013

    Increasing my ops tempo by allowing storytellers to whisper in my ear(buds).

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    "Business Trouble In Paradise"

    Before this book I had, of course, heard that the Mob once had ties to Cuba, but I never realized the extent of that involvement. I found this historical account to be very engaging and, at times, even quite exciting. The most interesting element is the business acumen exercised by the mob bosses who ran the casinos in Cuba as lucrative profit making ventures; staying within the local laws and customs. Their skills, garnered through years of illegal operations in the United States, served them well in dealing with the warlords of the Cuban dictatorship. Had it not been for the revolution of Fidel Castro the mob may have built a Caribbean empire; a sovereign underworld nation.

    Mel Foster’s narration is quite dramatic and many of the people are given accents that help to keep the figures straight.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Allan 07-01-15
    Allan 07-01-15
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    "Need-to-know Cuban-American history"
    Would you listen to Havana Nocturne again? Why?

    I have listened to it again. Several times. Primarily for the analysis and opinion about an incredible, misunderstood period of American History. I felt enriched by knowing new things.


    What did you like best about this story?

    This was a story about the US Mafia, a dictator and the rise of Fidel Castro. It explains Cuba's unique evolution towards communism, some of the unknown story of Fidel, and the unbelievably ambitious activities of the Mafia. I really enjoyed the characters and the story. It's one of the real Gems of US history. You should not miss out on a good long gawk at this one. The portrayal of all the colorful/horrible mobsters can't be missed either. It's like Game of Thrones, except it's all real.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    When Castro was tried in secret, and turned it to his advantage. He was (at that moment) possibly the cleverest lawyer on earth. Also: Brave as Hell. It does not surprise me at all he is Cuba's most notable leader.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Everything you need to know about what happened in Cuba, and the people who did it.


    Any additional comments?

    It never fails to impress me how intertwined we are with the culture and history of the nations that bound us. We believe ourselves to be an island, but we're not. This is one story is about the Americas - America in the larger sense - the company of nations.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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