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Havana Nocturne Audiobook

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

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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 (875 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Tahiti 05-18-17
    Tahiti 05-18-17 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "What A Tale...."
    If you could sum up Havana Nocturne in three words, what would they be?

    Crooks inevitably lose


    What other book might you compare Havana Nocturne to and why?

    I know of no comparable book. It reads like a novel, making it easy to forget these events really occurred.


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

    No, I haven't.


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

    And they thought they were gangsters...


    Any additional comments?

    I'll begin by saying that T.J. English is a kick-ass storyteller, and the history of the Havana Mafia, Fidel Castro and the revolution has never been told better, as far as I have read or heard. I had trouble putting this one down. I learned so much.

    I read the book after having visited Cuba twice, and reading the book after the fact put a lot of things in perspective. English's account of events in sites like the Hotel Nacional, calle Neptuno, Vedado, calle 23, Old Havana, Centro Habana and the Havana Libre had me repeatedly gasping, recalling time that I spent at each of these locations. Who knew that the glorious Havana Libre was once a mobster's hotel? I didn't. Until now, I was never able to fully wrap my mind around the stark popularity/notoriety dichotomy of the late former Cuban president Fidel Castro.

    I've gained a whole new, fresh perspective on Cuban history through this audiobook. I highly recommend it as a fantastic and engrossing overview of 20th century Cuba, the making of Fidel Castro and as a way to gain an understanding of why so many Cubans loved Castro and why so many Cubans hated him.

    My only criticism is that the narrator, though he speaks clearly, he mispronounces numerous words, mostly Spanish words (that briefly confused me until I figured out what he meant to say) and even some English words. The iconic figure Che Guevara was discussed at various points, and the narrator repeatedly mispronounced his name. It's [Gey-VAH-rah], not [Gw-VER-ruh]. I could handle the monotone, as the story was exciting enough that I saw no need for extra inflections. But the mispronunciations weren't acceptable.

    I am recommending this audiobook to everyone I know who is interested in Cuba. I've already sent it to two people before I finished it. A long read, but well worth it. I didn't want it to end. Excellent ending.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    chrisa 03-01-17
    chrisa 03-01-17
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    "Well written"

    Interesting and riveting. Well documented and. Researched. Thank you for great entertainment and truthful information.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Debbie Ocean Atlanta 01-06-17
    Debbie Ocean Atlanta 01-06-17 Member Since 2008

    Deb

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    "Enlightening"

    Loved the story not the narrator. Narrator did not speak spanish and butchered almost all the spanish words.
    Almost stopped listening but wanted to know the history of Cuba. Needs updating now that the embargo is lifted and Fidel died.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sharonia 09-26-16
    Sharonia 09-26-16 Member Since 2006

    mud maven

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    "Fabulous"
    If you could sum up Havana Nocturne in three words, what would they be?

    One great book!


    What about Mel Foster’s performance did you like?

    not overly dramatic


    Any additional comments?

    Audible customers should not worry about the comments about the reader. I found him to be fine, not overly dramatic, which fits the book precisely, since it IS dramatic. This book is excellent- so well written and so fascinating. It kept me company on a long road trip, and I could not wait to get back behind the wheel. This story has it all: high drama, mob, politics, sex, money, and the assassination of JFK. And so well put together and researched. I'm recommending it to everyone.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeremy Williams Asbury Park, NJ 09-23-16
    Jeremy Williams Asbury Park, NJ 09-23-16

    Jeremy S. Williams

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    "Great read definitely recommend"

    great read love the book and would definitely recommend it has great information and a good narrator

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    adam bellcorelli oshkosh,wi 08-08-16
    adam bellcorelli oshkosh,wi 08-08-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Fascinating Look at Another Side of the Story"

    There is a version of Cuba, and over all the players in this part of Cuba's history, that is crafted and told as gospel by US media and culture; this book peals back that story and looks at how it all went down in the eyes of those who were there.
    Not in an overly sympathetic way, nor overly critical, but with fascinating characters and in a way that makes unique connections between events that I thought I knew about.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tiffany 02-11-16
    Tiffany 02-11-16 Member Since 2016
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    "loved it"

    I will admit that I'm a little embarrassed that I don't know much about u.s. and cuba relationship and this book provided a very interesting perspective that has stirred my interest and has prompted me to listen to more books concerning the history of Cuba and it's relationship to the U.S.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Doug D. Eigsti Kansas City, MO United States 07-06-15
    Doug D. Eigsti Kansas City, MO 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 Member Since 2016
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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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    Marilyn 06-11-15
    Marilyn 06-11-15
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    "Covers both the Mob and Cuban history"

    Having just returned from a trip to Cuba I was interested in learning more about the country, particularly as related to the US. This book provided a fascinating look at both, with wonderful detailed digressions and details about the various characters, both Cuban and the American gangsters. I thought the narrator was perfect for this story- it deserves a deep, full voice. Great descriptions of the action, the people and the surroundings.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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