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Comment: Light wear to dust jacket. Pages are clean with no markings.
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Cuban Revelations: Behind the Scenes in Havana (Contemporary Cuba) Hardcover – October 22, 2013

4.6 out of 5 stars 74 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Most outside observers sense that Cuba is on the cusp of substantial economic and political changes. The question is how far, how fast, and how violent these changes will be. Frank, a Financial Times correspondent, is based in Havana, and he has covered Cuba and Latin America for more than two decades. While he remains sympathetic to the broad social goals of the Cuban Revolution, Frank makes clear that the current economic and political system is unsustainable. It is top heavy with bureaucrats, hostile to innovation, and repressive to those brave enough to challenge it. The so-called special period of the 1990s, after the collapse of Soviet economic support, has led to the emergence of haves and have-nots, mocking the facade of egalitarianism. The general population is locked in a “gray zone,” indifferent to politics yet waiting for something to happen. Meanwhile, post-Fidel leaders hope to tinker with the system while avoiding the dramatic changes seen in Communist regimes in Eastern Europe. An incisive, revealing portrait of a nation on the brink of transformation. --Jay Freeman

Review

“Excellent.”—Tim Cole, British Ambassador to Cuba


“[A] detailed investigation of Raul Castro’s reforms since his unexpected appointment to power in the summer of 2006.”—New York Review of Books


“Fascinating.”—Katrina vanden Heuvel, Washington Post



"Our top non-fiction pick. Cuban Revelations is a well-documented and insightful view of the last twenty-years in Cuban history."—Cuba Counterpoints 


“A remarkably rich, gritty account of daily life today in the twilight of Caribbean socialism.”—Foreign Affairs


“A must-read. . . . Essential for a sharper grasp of Cuban-American relations and the role American politics plays in the sovereignty of this independent state.”—Library Journal


“An incisive, revealing portrait of a nation on the brink of transformation.”—Booklist


“Despite Cuba’s controlled media environment, Frank managed to open doors to information not readily available to others, a testament to his intrepid reporting.”—Americas Quarterly


“The most useful accounts, hands down, of contemporary Cuba.”—CubaNews
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Product Details

  • Series: Contemporary Cuba
  • Hardcover: 344 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Florida (October 22, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813044650
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813044651
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #217,953 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Hands down the most informative, accurate, insightful, detailed account available on 21st century Cuba. As an avid reader of all text about Cuba, this book sits firmly on the top tier, virtually alone and towering over most. You won't find ideology or an agenda in here... but rather a comprehensive composition covering the multilayered, and often quite complex, reform process that has been underway in Cuba since at least 2006. Don't worry, it's not based on gossip, speculation, or wishful or spiteful thinking. Frank is an old-school reporter. Remember those? His book is based on solid sources, first hand investigation, inside access and an understanding of Cuba that is very, very rare. From his unique position, he takes a "forest" view of U.S.-Cuba policy, while not ignoring the important "trees" that make up and explain the poisoned relationship. Refreshingly, his analysis is not from the typical U.S. perspective, nor full of Cuban rhetoric. It is more a sober, pragmatic analysis from the island side of the straits.

I only caution that it may be a little too "insider" for readers with just a casual interest in Cuba, those wanting their political views to be supported or attacked, or those looking for shallow entertainment, with tales of salsa, rum and Santeria.

Conversely, for anyone calling themselves a Cuba expert, consultant, or activist; all Cubans living in the U.S.; and anyone working in any way on U.S.-Cuba policy or engaging Cuba economically, this is required reading.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
One of the most startling changes in international politics in recent years has been President Obama's moves to open relations with the island of Cuba, even loosen the embargo against that island. This has not been done in isolation though. Since Fidel Castro stepped down from power in 2006 and his younger brother, Raul, stepped up to take his place, Cuba has been undergoing some slow, but startling, changes in its economy and politics. This book, written by a Reuters journalist who lives on the island with his Cuban wife and has a wealth contacts inside the island, charts Cuba's reforms from the end of the Soviet Union in 1991 to 2013. It shows how Fidel tried one last time to save his Soviet-style socialist state before ill-health forced him out of power and how Raul's turn to more market-oriented solutions is slowly changing Cuban society. Though there have been some political reforms to, it is still very much a one-party system, but one that seems to want to emulate China's Communist Party rather than the Soviet Union's. Of course, because this was written prior to Pres. Obama's surprise announcement in December 2014 about the U.S. and Cuba opening relations and respective embassies and Obama and Raul Castro's recent meeting at the Summit of the Americas in Panama City, so when the author mentions U.S-Cuba relations, it is usually because the U.S. is inflexible in the face of the changes going on inside the country. Indeed, the author seems rather biased against the U.S. and Cuban-Americans efforts to counter the Castro regime, describing them as rather foolish and impotent in the face of the Castro brothers. The author also seems to have a rather favorable opinion of Raul Castro and is rather sympathetic to his attempts at reform.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I frequently travel to Cuba for work and read just about everything I can about the country--newspaper articles, magazine essays, novels, academic works, and non-fiction books. This is the best book I have read about contemporary Cuba in a long time. In fact, colleagues heading to Cuba soon just asked me to compile a reading list for them and Marc Frank's book was at the top of my list. Frank is a seasoned journalist, nimble writer and long-time resident of Cuba. What I like most about the book is its blend of straight-ahead reporting and personal stories. Frank has the requisite detachment a journalist needs to tell a real, credible and street-level account of what's been going in Cuba over the last 20 years or more. He also has excellent sources, which make the book come alive with insights and opinions that do not often appear on the front page. The fact that Frank lives in Cuba and has an extended Cuban family give it a rich and intimate tone that makes it especially rewarding to read.
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Format: Hardcover
Dawn Gable's review is right on. I first met Marc Frank when I served as Counselor for Economic/Political affairs for the US Interests Section in Havana from 1997-1999. We often lunched at the usually empty "El Conejo" retaurant, created back when Fidel thought that raising rabbits was the solution for the country's protein deficiency. Somehow there always seemed to be a lone Cuban sitting near us, presumably trying to listen to our conversations. Marc's analysis of events often differed from that of the US Government, but more often than not he was generally right, especially in later years,

I recently returned to Cuba after a 14 year absence for three weeks of on the ground research. Again I found Marc had insights and information that no one else had. I have been reading and writing about Cuba for the last 17 years both in and out of government. This is the best single book I have read.

I do agree with Dawn - a friend who I also know, but often disagree with - that this is not a book for the casual reader. It is for the careful student of Cuban affairs. As such I do not recommend the e-book edition. This is a book the specialist will want to refer to time and time again. You need to keep it on your bookshelf.

Gary H. Maybarduk, PhD, FSO(r)
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