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Bacardi and the Long Fight for Cuba: The Biography of a Cause by [Tom Gjelten]

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Bacardi and the Long Fight for Cuba: The Biography of a Cause Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 281 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The commonplace view of Cuba's prerevolutionary business establishment as a corrupt kleptocracy is revised in this intriguing history of the Bacardi rum company and its involvement in Cuban politics. NPR correspondent Gjelten (Sarajevo Daily) paints the 146-year-old distiller, once an icon of Cuban industry, as a model corporate citizen—efficient, innovative, socially responsible and union-tolerant. Its leaders were pillars of nationalist politics, he contends: company president Emilio Bacardi was a leader of Cuba's rebellion against Spain, and in the 1950s CEO José Bosch helped fund Castro's insurrection. (After Castro nationalized Bacardi's Cuban holdings, Bosch started funding anti-Castro exiles.) Bacardi's image as Cuban-nationalism-in-a-bottle becomes farcical when the company, now a multinational behemoth, fights an absurd court battle with Cuba's state rum company over the Havana Club trademark. But Gjelten's account of a liberal, progressive Cuban business clan complicates and enriches the conventional picture of a society torn between right and left dictatorships. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"The Bacardi liquor story is every bit as engaging as Cuba's tumultuous political history, and both narrative strands are inexorably intertwined."
The Washington Post

"A gripping saga that tells us just as much about human nature and the struggle between power and freedom as it does about Bacardi's transformation from a fledgling business into the world's top family-owned distiller."
The Wall Street Journal

"It's hard to imagine that any [Cuban history] is as enjoyable . . . as smooth and refreshing as a well-made daiquiri."
-Barry Gewen,
The New York Times --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B001E8OW7E
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Penguin Books (September 4, 2008)
  • Publication date ‏ : ‎ September 4, 2008
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 41688 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Screen Reader ‏ : ‎ Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Sticky notes ‏ : ‎ On Kindle Scribe
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 432 pages
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 281 ratings

About the author

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TOM GJELTEN is a veteran correspondent for NPR News, currently covering issues of religion, faith, and belief. His beat encompasses such areas as the changing religious landscape in America, the formation of personal identity, the role of religion in politics, and social and cultural conflict arising from religious differences. His reporting draws on his many years covering national and international news from posts in Washington and around the world.

In 1986, Gjelten became one of NPR's pioneer foreign correspondents, posted first in Latin America and then in Central Europe. In the years that followed, he covered the wars in Central America, social and political strife in South America, the first Gulf War, the wars in the former Yugoslavia, and the transitions to democracy in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.

After returning from his overseas assignments, Gjelten covered U.S. diplomacy and military affairs, first from the State Department and then from the Pentagon. He was reporting live from the Pentagon at the moment it was hit on September 11, 2001, and he was NPR's lead Pentagon reporter during the early war in Afghanistan and the invasion of Iraq. He has also reported extensively from Cuba in recent years.

Gjelten's latest book is A Nation of Nations: A Great American Immigration Story, published in 2015 (Simon & Schuster). The book recounts the impact on America of the 1965 Immigration Act, which officially opened the country's doors to immigrants of color.

His reporting from Sarajevo from 1992 to 1994 was the basis for his first book Sarajevo Daily: A City and Its Newspaper Under Siege (HarperCollins), praised by the New York Times as "a chilling portrayal of a city's slow murder." He is also the author of Professionalism in War Reporting: A Correspondent's View (Carnegie Corporation) and a contributor to Crimes of War: What the Public Should Know (W. W. Norton). His 2008 book, Bacardi and the Long Fight for Cuba: The Biography of a Cause (Viking), is a unique history of modern Cuba, told through the life and times of the Bacardi rum family. The New York Times selected it as a "Notable Nonfiction Book," and the Washington Post, Kansas City Star, and San Francisco Chronicle all listed it among their "Best Books of 2008."

Since joining NPR in 1982 as labor and education reporter, Gjelten has won numerous awards for his work, including two Overseas Press Club Awards, a George Polk Award, and a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a regular panelist on the PBS program "Washington Week," and a member of the editorial board at World Affairs Journal. A graduate of the University of Minnesota, he began his professional career as a public school teacher and freelance writer.

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Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5
281 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on January 30, 2016
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Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on June 26, 2011
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Top reviews from other countries

Kathryn Cole
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating insight into Bacardi and Cuba.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on February 23, 2016
1.0 out of 5 stars Torn page
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on November 25, 2019
Customer image
1.0 out of 5 stars Torn page
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on November 25, 2019
The book is brand new , but after some days of reading , I realized there was a page torn apart.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Eerthing ok
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on April 2, 2013
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on October 13, 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantástico, muy recomendable para conocer la historia de Cuba
Reviewed in Spain 🇪🇸 on April 14, 2017
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