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Cuba: What Everyone Needs to Know®, Second Edition Paperback – April 26, 2013

ISBN-13: 978-0199896707 ISBN-10: 0199896704 Edition: 2nd

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Product Details

  • Series: What Everyone Needs to Know
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 2 edition (April 26, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199896704
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199896707
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 1 x 5.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,979 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

What Everyone Needs to Know

WHAT EVERYONE NEEDS TO KNOW About This Series

Who it's for:

Busy people with diverse interests, ranging from college students to professionals, who wish to inform themselves in a succinct yet authoritative manner about a particular topic.

What's inside:

An incisive approach to a complex and timely issue, laid out in a straight-forward, question-and-answer format.

Meet Our Authors

Top experts in their given fields, ranging from an Economist correspondent to a director at the Council on Foreign Relations, you can trust our authors’ expertise and guidance.

Popular Topics in the "What Everyone Needs to Know" Series

  • International Politics
  • Environmental Policies
  • World History
  • Sciences & Math
  • Religion & Spirituality

Review


"Excellent and... evenhanded.... [It] packs a phenomenal amount of complex history into clear and simple prose."--Los Angeles Times (review of the first edition)


"Sweig's useful ready reference is highly recommended."--Library Journal
(review of the first edition)


"Splendid...Sweig displays a talent for succinctness and clarity, as well as a subtle, deep knowledge of Cuban affairs." --Foreign Affairs

(review of the first edition)


"Excellent and... evenhanded.... [It] packs a phenomenal amount of complex history into clear and simple prose."--Los Angeles Times


"Sweig's useful ready reference is highly recommended."--Library Journal


"Splendid...Sweig displays a talent for succinctness and clarity, as well as a subtle, deep knowledge of Cuban affairs." --Foreign Affairs


Customer Reviews

Outstanding information and presentation.
charlie badger
This is an excellent primer for student's of inter american issues.
Mark Bender
If you can read just one book on Cuba's history, this is the one.
Vulcan Isadora

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Mark Bender on March 19, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Ms. Sweig's analytical, historical, and balanced, wide view diorama of Cuba's political and economic history gives the reader the foundation to see how the Castro brothers were able to craft and forge Cuba's own destiny. This, despite the reactionary, jingoistic and short sighted destructive efforts of the giant to the north.

Ms. Sweig further revels how U.S. internal, domestic politics have served to sustain this blind and destructive perspective from the very beginning of the revolution up to this very day.

Even the forward thinking Obama regime, who internally sees the solid, concrete wisdom of abandoning this failed and inappropriate U.S. foreign policy (the embargo), can not afford to cash in the domestic political costs such an action would incur for their party. The pressure point of this dreaded political backlash is concentrated primarily in the Cuban exile community in the state of Florida and held as well by the rest of the ultra conservative perspective, who still think our nation is somehow entrusted with an undeniable privilege to put its own version of a government in place no matter how inappropriate.

This is an excellent primer for student's of inter american issues. Unlike a traditional history book, Ms. Sweig's work uses Chapter Headings that are Questions about a certain aspect of politics and or the actors (characters) involved. It makes it a little difficult to follow chronologically until the reader realizes that is not the point of the book, but rather to reveal the dynamic and NON linear process of Cuba's modern history and political evolution.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Carol Caswell on August 7, 2014
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The author clearly knows the subject and if you can slog through her writing you'll come away with an understanding and admiration of the Cuban struggle for self-reliance. Unfortunately, her writing in the earlier sections is dense and academically. She uses long sentences convoluted by opinionated commentary and side trips to unrelated facts and ideas. Reading them is a laborious exercise.

For the first 100 or so pages, I found it particularly distracting that the word "hegemony" appears somewhere on every other page. The last 80 or so pages are more clearly written and succinct. I'd recommend a good editor for the next edition.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By one guy on January 5, 2015
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I found this book to be very helpful and even-handed. I was part of a group that went to Cuba in November 2014, just a month before the announcement of the plan to normalize relations between the US and Cuba. I was very interested to learn about Cuban history, politics, and social life. This book seemed quite accurate, consistent with the information we got from our tour guides, who seemed very candid. It is also quite consistent with information on Wikipedia, though this book provides a lot more information.

The book is sympathetic to and critical of both the US and Cuba in various places. It was fascinating to learn more accurate information about Fidel, Che, and the revolution than what the American media generally portray. In particular, Fidel was not very good as a military commander and planner but was very good in consolidating power as the revolution progressed. I was also interested to read about Che's arrogance in trying to promote revolution in other countries without cooperating with other revolutionary movements. On the other hand, the book candidly describes American imperial interventions and manipulation -- as well as successes in Cuban society since the revolution. Probably most Americans don't recognize the major impact of the downfall of the Soviet Union on Cuba, which the book helpfully describes.

The FAQ format seems a bit odd for a history reference book, but I actually found it useful as I wanted to look up various issues.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mark Farmer on February 20, 2014
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This was an informative overview of Cuba's recent history. It is organized as a series of questions, followed by answers so it is almost like a Google collection. The information is clear and seems quite balanced in its approach.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Brady on March 15, 2014
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Packed full information in a logical useful flow. Enough meat around the facts to connect with the information provided. Lots of "aha" moments for those who were born after 1959.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By oiythealien on October 7, 2013
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This book was set up in chapters that are subdivided by questions. For example: "What was the Special Period in Cuba?" and then there are a few pages offering an explanation of the topic. It kind of felt like I was reading a series of blog posts; granted, they were exceptionally well researched and very clear. Sweig's introduction is very interesting and presented great background on who she is and her recent interview with Castro.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sonia Rodriguez-Perez on April 19, 2014
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This book was informative, however, many parts were repetitive. I was glad to have read it for the updated information regarding Cuba Today.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ursula Hahn on July 19, 2014
Format: Paperback
In January 2014, I visited Cuba through a Road Scholar people-to-people program for two weeks, beginning in Santiago de Cuba and ending in Havana. I had no time to prepare myself, knew nothing but the most superficial facts about Cuba before the trip, and purchased this book after my return. It is NOT a travelogue (as the title might suggest). This edition is updated to 2010 and even refers to the recently enacted relaxation in commercial activities. The strength of this book lies in Sweig's structuring her vast material into topic-oriented chapters by posing specific questions the reader may have and providing detailed answers, with references to other chapters. This doesn't require reading about Cuba's entire history all at once to gain an understanding of causes and effects.
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Cuba: What Everyone Needs to Know®, Second Edition
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