Caribbean Initiative Recommended Reading: Cuba

Caribbean Initiative Recommended Reading: Cuba



Cuba: A New History (Yale Nota Bene) (2005), by Richard Gott- “Events in Fidel Castro’s island nation often command international attention and just as often inspire controversy. Impassioned debate over situations as diverse as the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Elián Gonzáles affair is characteristic not only of modern times but of centuries of Cuban history. In this concise and up-to-date book, British journalist Richard Gott casts a fresh eye on the history of the Caribbean island from its pre-Columbian origins to the present day. He provides a European perspective on a country that is perhaps too frequently seen solely from the American point of view.”


Perspectives on Cuba and Its People (1999), by Theodore A. Braun- “The struggle between foreign domination and Cuban independence is set in the context of Cuban history, including the economics of sugar, the era of U.S. penetration, and the achievements and failures of post-revolutionary society. While the interests of Spain and the United States are noted, special attention is given to the perspectives of the Taino people, black Cubans, Cuban émigrés, and Cuban Christians.”


Protestantism and Revolution in Cuba (1989), by Marcos A. Ramos- “Presents an overview of the Protestant community in Cuba, and describes the origin and development of the Protestant churches in Cuba. Published by the Cuban institute for Cuban Studies.”


Fidel & Religion: Conversations with Frei Betto on Marxism & Liberation Theology, Second Edition (2006), by Fidel Castro, Armando Hart, and Frei Betto- “The product of an intimate 23-hour dialogue between Fidel Castro and Brazilian liberation theologist Frei Betto, this was a Simon & Schuster bestseller in the 1980s. Here Castro speaks candidly about his views on religion and his education in elite Catholic colleges, offering an insight into the man behind the beard.”


Passage to Cuba: An Up-Close Look at the World’s Most Colorful Culture (2015), by Cynthia Carris Alonso- “This keepsake volume is a breathtaking tribute to a land with a complex history. It’s a lush, vibrant collection of photographs and a road map to use to embark on a remarkable odyssey.”


From Rainforest to Cane Field in Cuba: An Environmental History since 1492 (2008), by Reinaldo Funes Monzote- “In this award-winning environmental history of Cuba since the age of Columbus, Reinaldo Funes Monzote emphasizes the two processes that have had the most dramatic impact on the island’s landscape: deforestation and sugar cultivation. The original Spanish-language edition of the book, published in Mexico in 2004, was awarded the UNESCO Book Prize for Caribbean Thought, Environmental Category. “


Selected Writings (2002), by José Martí- “A poet, essayist, orator, statesman, abolitionist, and the martyred revolutionary leader of Cuba’s fight for independence from Spain, Martí lived in exile in New York for most of his adult life, earning his living as a foreign correspondent. Throughout the 1880s and early 1890s, Martí’s were the eyes through which much of Latin America saw the United States. Organized chronologically, this collection begins with his early writings, including a thundering account of his political imprisonment in Cuba at age sixteen.


Our America: Writings on Latin America and the Struggle for Cuban Independence (1977), by José Martí- “Presents the celebrated Cuban revolutionary’s thoughts on “Nuestra America,” the Latin America Martí fought to make free.”


Before Night Falls: A Memoir (1994), by Reinaldo Arenas- “The shocking memoir by visionary Cuban writer Reinaldo Arenas “is a book above all about being free,” said The New York Review of Books–sexually, politically, artistically. Arenas recounts a stunning odyssey from his poverty-stricken childhood in rural Cuba and his adolescence as a rebel fighting for Castro, through his suppression as a writer, imprisonment as a homosexual, his flight from Cuba via the Mariel boat lift, and his subsequent life and the events leading to his death in New York.


Paradiso (2005), by José Lezama Lima- “In the wake of his father’s premature death, Jose Cemi comes of age in a turn of the century Cuba described in the Washington Post as “an island paradise where magic and philosophy twist the lives of the old Cuban bourgeoisie into extravagant wonderful shapes.”


Cuba Since the Revolution of 1959 (2011), by Samuel Farber- “Uncritically lauded by the left and impulsively denounced by the right, the Cuban Revolution is almost universally viewed one dimensionally. Samuel Farber, one of its most informed left-wing critics, provides a much needed critical assessment of the Revolution’s impact and legacy.”


An Island Called Home: Returning to Jewish Cuba (2007), by Ruth Behar- “As a child of five, Ruth Behar was caught up in the Jewish exodus from Cuba. Growing up in the United States, she wondered about the Jews who stayed behind. Who were they and why had they stayed? What traces were left of the Jewish presence, of the cemeteries, synagogues, and Torahs? Who was taking care of this legacy? What Jewish memories had managed to survive the years of revolutionary atheism? This book is the first to show both the vitality and the heartbreak that lie behind the project of keeping alive the flame of Jewish memory in Cuba.”


De Cristóbal Colón a Fidel Castro: El Caribe frontera imperial (2009), by Juan Bosch- “El lector encontrara 26 capitulos narrados de manera brillante y quedara atrapado desde el primer momento, cada capitulo termina con una interconexion al principio del capitulo y al inicio del siguiente. En definitiva una lectura obligada para el experto y el neofito que esta nuevamente disponible en esta reciente edicion.”


Fidel Castro: Biografía a dos voces (2010), by Ignacio Ramonet- “Fidel Castro. Biografía a dos voces traza un recorrido por la controvertida figura del líder cubano, proporcionando un relato apasionante sobre el pasado, el presente y el porvenir de la Revolución, y se constituye como la memoria oral de uno de los hombres que definieron el siglo XX.”