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Cuba: After the Revolution Hardcover – September 1, 1999

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In the wake of the excitement surrounding the Buena Vista Social Club documentary and recordings, Wolf (HIV Positive; If I Forget Thee, O Jerusalem) presents a complex portrait of contemporary Havana. He opens this photo-essay with an overview of the political, economic and social history of Cuba, follows with a panoramic view of the capital city, then narrows the focus to document the daily life of 12-year-old Havana resident Ana Moreira. The photos are extraordinary for their ability to convey the diversity of faces, the beauty of a city rising up from the ocean, and the decay of architecture that was once captivating. Supplementing the photos, the informal narrative succinctly describes the complexities of Cuba's economy and politics, yet occasionally feels oversimplified (e.g., "Ever optimistic, Cubans are remarkably friendly, courteous, and helpful, not only to one another but to total strangers"). While Wolf exposes the many incongruities of life in Cuba, he does little to explain them (e.g., he posits, "The quality of medical care in Cuba is outstanding. The only major problem is the lack of critical medication and advanced technical medical equipment needed to diagnose and treat serious illnesses"). The strongest section focuses on Ana and her family. Here readers glimpse a typical day at home, school and ballet practice as well as a peek at her parents' art studios. Zeroing in on these specific areas also allows Wolf to effectively expand his points to society at large. (Sept.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-6-While not a completely balanced view, this is a beautiful photo-essay about life in contemporary Cuba. Wolf begins the book with a two-page discussion of this Caribbean country's history and its relationship to the U.S. His empathy for the people is apparent as he recounts a pattern of U.S. abuses and support of corrupt leadership, and implies that were it not for a fateful conversation between Vice President Richard Nixon and Premier Fidel Castro in 1959, the relationship between these two countries might now be quite different. Wolf contends that life in Cuba is wonderful, except for the shortages and economic problems caused by the embargo imposed by the U.S. after the ill-fated Bay of Pigs invasion in 1962. Information is presented in the most positive way possible. "In all of Latin America, there is probably no safer city than Havana." Until the visit of Pope John Paul II in 1998, Catholic religious observances were "not encouraged." As for health care, "The quality of medical care in Cuba is outstanding. The only major problem is the lack of critical medication and advanced technical equipment ." The family Wolf focuses on is special, too. Both parents are artists of some renown and the text tells readers that "Since the revolution, artists have been given every possible encouragement and support ." Still, given the growing thaw in U.S.-Cuban relations, this book will serve to demystify and familiarize children with a population that may largely have been unknown to them until now.
Linda Greengrass, Bank Street College Library, New York City
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 and up
  • Grade Level: 4 and up
  • Hardcover: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Juvenile; 1st edition (September 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525460586
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525460589
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 0.5 x 11.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,999,475 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
In this ground-breaking book, photojournalist Bernard Wolf offers a glimpse of contemporary life in Havana that few people living in the United States have ever seen. He documents his recent trip to Cuba's capital city in color photographs accompanying brief descriptions of what he saw and learned about the lives of people there. While he doesn't avoid pointing out the poverty and challenges faced by most Cuban citizens today, he balances this with the positive aspects of life in Havana: racial tolerance, a low crime rate, a high literacy rate, and an appreciation for the arts.
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