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Cuba: What Everyone Needs to Know

3.8 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195383805
ISBN-10: 019538380X
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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"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
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Product Details

  • Series: What Everyone Needs to Know
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (July 17, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019538380X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195383805
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 0.7 x 5.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #808,093 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I'm 50 pages in. This book is extremely informative and the writing is very good, very concise. However, I'm really wondering how the LA Times review could have possible called this book 'evenhanded'. The author must be an old-school campus liberal because so far this book goes to great pains to find the silver lining in every aspect of Fidel's revolution. And not surprisingly, the US is characterized as a cynical, manipulative force at every turn. The author even takes it upon herself to insinuate that just about all counterrevolutionary activity after Fidel's radicalization was really just CIA meddling (quite a position to take, unless you can support it, which she does not).

I'm not coming at this book from any political angle. I would just appreciate a more objective approach to the subject matter. This is starting to read like a thinly veiled defense of one-party leftist rule. Readers should be aware of this. Having said that, the organization of the book is great for those looking for a fairly quick and compact background on Cuba.
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Format: Paperback
In this new book, Julia Sweig draws on her impressive knowledge of Cuba to great effect. The book seamlessly traces Cuba from its early colonial history through the Cuban Revolution, its aftermath, and outlines the contemporary issues now that Fidel has left power. The book can be read in one sitting or used as a reference, and the Q&A format works well because all the right questions get asked. I especially enjoyed the historical section which gives a great synopsis of Cuba's early origins, as well as the current political analysis. The book matches the ambitions of its title and then some---it should be a first resort for the curious and the expert alike!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read this while in Cuba. The author is a bit soft on Castro, but not terribly. The book is a good summary of why Cuba is where it is today. The economics are mushy: Cuba is an economic disaster. Cuba is also more egalitarian Communist than any nation has ever tried. The result is universal near poverty. Central control is overwhelming. We were traveling around in a luxury bus while the regime cut public transport for everyone else. The whole country was hitchhiking or in horse carts. The author never really faces the issue of how deep a hole Cuba is in and how difficult it will be to get out.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is by no means an exhaustive recount of Cuban history from the 1959 revolution on but it is a very good and concise account of it if you don't have the time or want a more detailed book. Good for someone who wants to have a basic understanding of events from 1959 onwards.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I recently took a people to people trip to Cuba but before leaving wanted to know more about the country and its recent history. This book really helped me understand the revolution and its outcome on the country. It was not a book which I read from cover to cover in one sitting but it was one I looked forward to picking up again. For anyone going to Cuba or just to understand more about our relationship with the country the book is very helpful.
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Format: Paperback
What an unbelievable book this is. I bought it seen Dr. Sweig all over television over the past year. She comes across as one of the smartest, most charismatic talking heads on foreign policy I've seen in a generation. Her book, Cuba: What Everyone Needs To Know, is every bit as compelling. It manages to be accessible yet erudite, sweeping yet detailed, and conversational yet profound. Whether you are a Cuban history buff or want to give a friend with little knowledge of Cuba the primer of all primers, this is the book to get. I'm blown away.
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Format: Paperback
I just finished this wonderful book (CUBA What Everyone Needs to Know) and I LOVED it. Ms. Sweig is a gifted writer: this book reads like fiction. Really, the book is a page turner. I learned a great deal, but it was painless -- not like an assigned reading at all. I would highly recommend CUBA What Everyone Needs to Know to students who want to learn about Cuba as well as to folks who are just looking for a good read. I read at least one American newspaper a day (usually the Washington Post) and I did not know most of the information in the book. For example, did you know that on 911 the Cuban government "privately offered to open its airfields for American planes to land there and offered medical teams to assist with the disaster and recovery."(see p. 181) I had no idea. Thumbs up for this great book.
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Format: Paperback
If visiting Cuba to see more than vintage American cars is appealing, you can rely on expert Julia Sweig's new, most timely book, Cuba: What Everyone Needs to Know. Sweig's long established knowledge of Cuba together with her fun, familiar, voice-filled writing style makes this the bible for rediscovery of Cuba as the US gradually opens up the embargo-burdened bogeyman 90 miles to the South.
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