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Waiting for Fidel Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 259 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; 1st ptg thus edition (January 19, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395868866
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395868867
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,163,646 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

When Fidel Castro was barred from the U.N. 50th-anniversary parties and fun, Christopher Hunt's curiosity was piqued. He decided to spend a winter in Cuba, avoid New York's icy misery, practice his Spanish, absorb some Cuban culture, and maybe even meet Fidel. In the time-honored tradition of great travelogues, everything goes wrong and everything goes right. He finds wonderful people while trying to meet Castro (including the man who played Grandpa Munster on the 1960s television show, The Munsters), and sees a lot of Cuba, from Havana alleys to resort beaches to the mountains that sheltered Castro and his band of rebels years ago. Some questions get resolved, while unanswerable Cuban quandaries take their place, such as how Cubans balance fear, hunger, passion, and hope in a country of food shortages, endless lines, and police surveillance. Hunt's finely rendered account of four months in Cuba whets the appetite for more about Cuba and more penned by Hunt.

From Library Journal

Hunt doesn't travel the easy way. His last book, Sparring with Charlie (LJ 5/1/96), was about navigating the Ho Chi Minh Trail on a motorbike. Here he retraces Fidel Castro's 1959 Liberty Caravan through Cuba, doing it illegally (as a foreigner) by hitchhiking on crowded trucks and staying in the unlicensed homes of local people. His goal was to interview Castro, but in this he failed. He did, however, come in contact with a cross section of ordinary people to provide a view of a nation that appears to be reaching the end of its socialist era, rife with shortages and encountering a notable increase in crime. He finds growing dissatisfaction with the government and an alarming polarization of power and privilege. Hunt writes with sympathy and humor, which somehow makes for enjoyable reading despite the suffering he describes. A good choice for public libraries.
-?Harold M. Otness, Southern Oregon Univ. Lib., Ashland, Ore.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 10, 1998
Format: Paperback
I was transported back to 1993 when I went on a trip to Cuba in search of myself. I couldn't put the book down. I know all the characters Hunt encounters in Cuba. I can feel their warmth, touch there souls, I can smell them, even though I've never met them in person. Friends have asked me what Cuba is like. I always recommend "Waiting for Fidel." Cuba is a complex world, socially and politically. The Revolution instituted good and bad. Hunt discovers this through his travels and conveys it well. I won't tell you how the book ends ( I love the ending ).
Tomas Hernandez is a Television Producer in San Francisco. Born in Cuba he left in1960 when he was three. He was raised for most of his youth in Puerto Rico and the US East Coast.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 4, 1999
Format: Paperback
While reading this, I was impressed how Hunt went about finding Fidel. While in Havana, he met several people who gave him good info and helped him get started on his journey. While trailing Castros revolutionary path, he becomes "Cubanised" by the people he meets along the way, gets a good view of Cuban life. Best of all, he learns and conveys valuable lessons that only an adventurer like him could. I like how he doesn't try to pass judgement, just simply report what he see's and does an outstanding job drawing things out for his readers.
An oustanding book for anyone wanting an unbaised look into Cuba.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By gakkiman on January 14, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Anyone who spends time in Cuba has to wonder why the people put up with terrible economic hardships and total political oppression. One also wonders why Cubans are often very warm, friendly, and even generous, especially towards Americans. How can Castro remain in power when almost everyone you ask will say they have had enough of him? The author puts these questions and many others to the people of Cuba and their answers shed some much-needed light on the subject.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 13, 2002
Format: Paperback
Like other reviewers, I struggled at times with this book. It's easy reading, but drags in the middle by getting bogged down in historical recounting. Having said that, you do get a sense of what it is like to live in Cuba, so I definitely think it is worthwhile to push through this one. I also wish Hunt had been less innocent and made different choices at times.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Tere on August 23, 2001
Format: Paperback
I appreciated that this book was written by a regular person--that is, nonpolitical with no propaganda to try to sell us (none that I could ascertain). That said, I felt like Mr. Hunt, throughout his adventures in Cuba, was in some form of denial. Whatever he thinks of Castro's personality is his own business, but I found it disturbing that even though every single person he met (including those who were still "believers") admitted to how much harder life was because of Castro and his failed revolutionary experiment, he still managed to make statements like "Fidel has championed poverty." I would understand such ignorance from someone who's never been to Cuba, but from someone who met poverty at every corner? It's unforgiveable. I read the book out of curiousity to see what Cubans had to say, and in that aspect I was not surprised. Hunt does a good job by letting them speak for themselves, and some of his interpretations are pretty insightful. I thought he was on the mark when he described the creativity and strong spirit generally possessed by Cubans, as well as their generousity. But I am not convinced that he looked very deeply. In his shoes it's easy to be optimistic and admire Castro, but I think he did the Cubans he met little service by second-guessing their opinions of their country's situation. I suspect that his perception of how "good" things are in Cuba has a lot to do with his lack of knowledge of what Cuba was like before 1959. In terms of poverty and human rights that may have been bad, but this is worse. What an error in judgement to think that a charismatic leader equals a good one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 28, 2001
Format: Paperback
I found Waiting for Fidel to be informative and humorous. This is great "light reading" about Cuban life. I enjoyed how the author shared his experiences with everyday Cubans. Also the fact that he didn't travel in Cuba as a regular tourist would , but as an everyday citizen. I would have gave the book 5 stars , but the author was too clean-cut for my taste and if he had more "close calls" or hair raising stories. Overall: Buy the Book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Libia Casas, Lcsw on July 12, 1998
Format: Paperback
As an American Cuban who has never been to the island this was a cool look at contemporay Cuba. Having extened family there it gave me insight as I also am a psychotherapist working with folks who have recently left the island. Any one interested in the island should read this book. Light on the history facts but thought provoking.It does not frustrate you with historical facts--easy read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 26, 1998
Format: Paperback
Having read Trading with the Enemy, I read this book during an extended trip to Mexico. Enjoyed reading the book but a little redundant after reading Trading with the Enemy. Both are accounts of journalists' travels and impressions of Cuba. The writers travelled the entire length of the island and saw Cuban life through the eyes of people from all socio-economic classes and occupations so you get a good picture but also cynical perspective of Cuba. Fast read, recommended.
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