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Bacardi and the Long Fight for Cuba: The Biography of a Cause Hardcover – Bargain Price, September 4, 2008
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From The New Yorker
More About the Author
With other NPR correspondents, Gjelten described the transitions to democracy and capitalism in Eastern Europe and the breakup of the Soviet Union. His reporting from Sarajevo from 1992 to 1994 was the basis for his book Sarajevo Daily: A City and Its Newspaper Under Siege (HarperCollins), praised by the New York Times as "a chilling portrayal of a city's slow murder. He is also the author of Professionalism in War Reporting: A Correspondent's View (Carnegie Corporation) and a contributor to Crimes of War: What the Public Should Know (W. W. Norton).
Prior to his current assignment, Gjelten covered U.S. diplomacy and military affairs, first from the State Department and then from the Pentagon. He was reporting live from the Pentagon at the moment it was hit on September 11, 2001, and he was NPR's lead Pentagon reporter during the war in Afghanistan and the invasion of Iraq. Gjelten has also reported extensively from Cuba in recent years, visiting the island more than a dozen times. His new book, Bacardi and the Long Fight for Cuba: The Biography of a Cause (Viking), is a unique history of modern Cuba, told through the life and times of the Bacardi rum family. The book was selected by the New York Times as a "Notable Nonfiction Book of 2008" and it was named a "Best Book of the Year" by the Washington Post, the Kansas City Star, and the San Francisco Chronicle."
Since joining NPR in 1982 as labor and education reporter, Gjelten has won numerous awards for his work. His 1992 series "From Marx to Markets," documenting the transition to market economics in Eastern Europe, won an Overseas Press Club award for "Best Business or Economic Reporting in Radio or TV." His coverage of the wars in the former Yugoslavia earned Gjelten the Overseas Press Club's Lowell Thomas Award, a George Polk Award, and a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award. He was part of the NPR teams that won an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton for Sept. 11 coverage and a George Foster Peabody Award for coverage of the war in Iraq.
In addition to reporting for NPR, Gjelten is a regular panelist on the PBS program Washington Week. For more information, visit www.tomgjelten.com.
Top Customer Reviews
The Bacardí Family tree which appears at the beginning of the book is illegible. It appears legibly for less than a second and then fades to light gray. Unusable.
Nearly every time the name of Jose Martí appears, it has been conjoined with the word that follows it. "Martí published" becomes "Martípublished". There are some 64+ occurrences such as this. It becomes more than tiresome.
Also, there are ZERO photographs included in the Kindle edition. Mr.Gjelten did a grand job writing this book, but whoever Kindilized it did a pathetic job. Buy the print version.
journalists,the author can compress a story yet give you the feeling that you know all the important stuff that needs to be known. The Bacardi family and company (it is still privately owned)certainly ranks as one of the most interesting and liberal I have ever come across reading about big businesses. They were not Johnnies come lately in the battle for Cuban freedom both from Spain and the native born dictators who followed after the American invaders left the island. They supported and financed the
Castro revolution and then had to flee the country when he turned into a communist dictator. They then fought him from the Bay of Pigs to this day.
At a time when Cuban workers were exploited under Spain and then under Cuban dictators, Bacardi seems to have been an enlightened employer providing its workers with benefits and security far beyond others.When one remembers that the company prospered under a series of ruthless and corrupt dictators who turned Havanna into a mafia controlled enclave, they seem all the more incredible that they could remain clean while they had so much mud around them In fact, with the exception of the rare philanderer or less than bright family member, the Bacardi family over this 150 year time span seems extraordinary for their compassion, accomplishments, and sense of duty and honor. Perhaps too extraordinary. Reading through the book I had to marvel how so many people could be so good over so many years.Read more ›
The history of the Cuban nation is interwoven with the history of the Bacardi family, from the first Catalan immigrant, Facundo Bacardi, to the present diaspora living in exile (except for Gilda and Gustavin, who I happened to know as a child, and who were and are sympathizers of the Castro regime and are still in Cuba). He dutifully relates the sequence of presidents and dictators of the island, with the social and political background of each regime. This may sound dull and perhaps too academic, but the struggle of the family throughout the history of the island gives it a personal and involving dimension.
In the last chapter, Gjelten speaks to the dynamics of the present political situation of Cuba, both from the point of view of the exile community, as well as from the needs of the post-Castro Cuban nation. This makes the book an important resource for anyone interested in being involved, either emotionally or in a practical, active way, in the future Cuba.
My father was an executive with Bacardi for 25 years. As such, I have some knowledge about the company, its history, and many of the events related in the book, as well as knowing many of the people written about in the book.
The author has done a tremendous job in his research, and in getting the essence of the Bacardi family and, by extension, the Cuban story correct.
This is not only a good read for anyone interested in the Bacardi story, but also a well written, and detailed chronicle of Cuban political history that goes back well beyond the Batista-Castro-Communist revloution times that are what people generally know about Cuba.
Seth J. Frantzman
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I took a fantastic cultural exchange trip to Cuba in November 2015. In preparation for the trip I read a variety of books about Cuba: biographies, memoirs, novels and histories. Read morePublished 7 days ago by T. Graczewski
I learned so much about Cuba from reading this novel. Not just the historical facts, but how the people think and act. I loved this book!Published 3 months ago by Janet K Quick
Suggested reading for my class at CRI on Cuba. Very in depth history of Cuba and the Bacardi family and their business---Bacardi Rum. Read morePublished 3 months ago by cathy Katte
I selected this book to learn more about Cuba's history. Turns out the book is a history of both 20th Cuba and the Barcardi family. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Ernest Bentley
About 1/3 way through the book and find it a fascinating insight into both the history of the Bacardi family and of Cuba from the 1860's forward.Published 5 months ago by Bill Moore