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The Cuba Reader: History, Culture, Politics (The Latin America Readers) Paperback – February 4, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-0822331971 ISBN-10: 0822331977
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“What a beautiful journey through five hundred years of Cuban history, culture, and politics! The Cuba Reader is a sumptuous medley of poetry, song, speeches, interviews, and vignettes from novels new and old. You’ll hear the voices of santeros and sugar workers, prostitutes and politicos, revolutionaries and reporters, dissidents and dancers. It’s the next best thing to being in Cuba, so sit back with a mojito and enjoy the masterfully guided tour.”—Medea Benjamin, activist and cofounder of Global Exchange


"The Cuba Reader offers a splendid overview of the Cuban experience, past and present, through a dazzling array of points of view. The voices of participants and observers and perspectives on the extraordinary and the commonplace—with imagery conveyed by way of photography and poetry, through the lyric of music and the nuance of the novel—make for a compelling collection of material. The very fullness of its vision makes The Cuba Reader an indispensable book for courses—of every academic discipline—on Cuba.”—Louis A. Pérez, Jr., author of On Becoming Cuban: Identity, Nationality, and Culture


"[A] classic. The editors of this book and their many accomplices deserve nothing but praise for producing the best introduction to Cuba one can possibly find."
(Gavin O'Toole The Latin American Review of Books)

"[A] crash course in Cuban history. If you’re looking for a single (hefty) volume to get you up to speed about the past 500 years of Cuban politics and culture, this is it."
 
(Julie Schwietert Collazo The Guardian)

"[An] ambitious and impressive anthology, a sweeping collection of source materials by and about Cubans both on the island and living in other countries. The editors . . . have wisely chosen songs, paintings, photographs, short stories, essays, speeches, government reports, cartoons and newspaper articles that span Cuban history. . . . What The Cuba Reader does extraordinarily well is to reveal the nuances and complexity of the Cuban experience. All shades of politics are here, and they infuse Cuban dance, music, film and religion."
(Susan Fernandez The Miami Herald)

"[T]he editors should be congratulated for their Herculean effort. The reader will be most useful for undergraduate courses where it will provide students with an impressive overview of the Cuban experience over the last five centuries. In fact, anyone interested in obtaining a comprehensive and multifaceted firsthand account of Cuban history will benefit from this book."
(John J. Dwyer The Americas)

"This Reader provides a wonderfully eclectic selection of writings from and about Cuba. . . . [A] very useful resource for the teaching of courses relating to Cuba, providing a taster of many aspects of the island's history that should encourage those who dip into it to come away with a more nuanced understanding of an island that has been plagued by caricature."
(Jonathan Curry-Machado Journal of Latin American Studies)

From the Publisher

"[An] ambitious and impressive anthology, a sweeping collection of source materials by and about Cubans both on the island and living in other countries."--Susan Fernandez, The Miami Herald
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Product Details

  • Series: The Latin America Readers
  • Paperback: 736 pages
  • Publisher: Duke University Press Books (February 4, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0822331977
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822331971
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #197,531 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Aviva Chomsky is professor of history and coordinator of Latin American Studies at Salem State University. The author of several books, Chomsky has been active in Latin American solidarity and immigrants' rights issues for over twenty-five years. She lives in Salem, Massachusetts.

Customer Reviews

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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By L. J. Reisen on August 5, 2006
Format: Paperback
I have always been interested in Cuba, but I have tended to focus on the Health System there and have learned very little about Cuba before Castro and the revolution. This book gives an overall picture of Cuba as it developed through the years from all different perspectives, both positive and negative. Even though the different sections are simply short excerpts from different works, the editors have been able to put everything together in order to show all different aspects of Cuba and its history.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Spider Monkey on January 30, 2011
Format: Paperback
`The Cuba Reader' is a simply outstanding anthology of Cuban speeches, legal texts, poems, fiction, essays, photography, historical analysis and more besides. It starts at pre-colonial Cuba and looks at the indigenous population, before moving onto the slavery and sugar plantations, the Batista regime, the revolution, all the way up to the `special period'. This isn't quite a coherent narrative of events in Cuba (rather lots of snap shots of various aspects of Cuban life), but coupled with a good history (Like `Cuba: A New History' by R Gott) this makes for a wonderfully rounded view of this fascinating country. The speeches are particularly interesting to read, as are the interviews with Cubans which gives a deeper insight into their country. I love how the book flowed from essay to poem, to fiction exert and then political text, to a landmark speech and then back to a poem (for example). It makes for an engaging and rounded insight into the various facets of Cuban society. If you have already read about Cuba and have a thirst for more information then this is highly recommended and if you want a clear narrative history of the country, try the aforementioned book, but make sure you come back and look at this, as it is truly fascinating, well researched and great to dip in and out of.

Feel free to check out my blog which can be found on my profile page.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Melvin H. Pritchard on May 14, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the best documentary history of Cuba printed recently. It has not only documents, but also pictures, songs, etc. As Cuba is a controversial subject, the authors give broad swath of documents to present Cuban history.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Andrew J. Rodriguez on April 25, 2009
Format: Paperback
I couldn't put the book down. Perhaps because I miss my country so much.
The book is so accurate I actually traveled back in time.
I totally recommend this read especially to those whose nostalgia for the old country continues to glow.

Andrew J. Rodriguez
Award-winning author: "Adios, Havana," a Memoir
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 6, 2012
Format: Paperback
Good book for looking into primary sources in Cuban history. Sometimes it came up short on exactly what I was looking for, but, overall, it has a good number of sources.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Paul W. Schubert on November 29, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is "must reading" for anyone whose memory is blank on Cuba. A long list of relatively short essays tracing the long, colorful, sometimes painful Cuban history. We read it in short takes of two, three chapters at a sitting. Again, a "must read" for Cuba buffs and travelers. If you are lucky enough to book a legal trip, give yourself a few months before departure to this beautiful island to read through this thick volume. Be prepared to re-read some of the scholarly essays for a full understanding of Cuba's sometimes bumpy, sometimes gracious history.
PAUL WM. SCHUBERT
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By E. Shipp on February 28, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is not a normal history but if you are willing to read an anthology rather than a normal guide, this will give you an excellent description of Cuban life and history. I have read the Peru reader as well and this whole series is excellent. The book is very long and inevitably some things were left out but overall I found this to be extremely thorough. I was disappointed that some of the poems did not have side by side Spanish and English translations but that is a minor quibble. This book includes plenty of Cuban and non-Cuban sources.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Stephanierunsforfun on March 18, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is essential if you plan to do serious research on Cuba. It is essentially a compilation of the major documents of great importance written in or on Cuba. It starts with colonial writings (passages from Spanish colonizers) and works its way through time up to and through the Cuban revolution. It contains everything from speeches to journal entries and songs. It is incredibly comprehensive and the summaries at the beginning of each passage are instrumental in guiding the researcher through so much material quickly.
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