This Is Cuba: An Outlaw Culture Survives
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This Is Cuba: An Outlaw Culture Survives

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  98 ratings  ·  9 reviews
Beyond the throngs of tourists streaming through Central Havana's broad Prado Avenue, and outside the yoke of Castro's 43-year-old Revolutionary program, there exists a parallel Cuba - a separate evolution of a people struggling to survive. With personal stories that depict a people torn between following the directives of their government and finding a way to better their...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published March 31st 2004 by Basic Books (first published 2002)
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The best parts of this book allow you to view Cuba through Ben Corbett's eyes. He exhibits a gift for painting verbal pictures and capturing a moment, a scene, an experience on paper. Each chapter of this book begins with such a scene, though at times not quite so skillfully as in others.

If capturing the present in words is the author's gift, however, his curse is his grasp of cause and effect. When describing Cuba's past and what has led to this (now decade old) point, he often confuses anteced...more
Jeff Kelleher
There are hundreds of books on the fruits Castro's revolution. Read this one.

The case for freedom is not made by logic. From Plato, to Hobbes, to Lenin, to Oscar Lange, powerful arguments stand against it. Nor by ideology. The apostles of freedom have to concede the venality of man and the fractiousness of politics. Utopians can conjure sweeter visions.

Freedom often does not do well in the contest of music and poetry, either. "The Internationale" and the "Sandinista Hymn", to name just two, are...more
May 05, 2008 Martina rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Anyone with an interest in Cuba.
This is one of my favorite books. I am still re-reading chapters that I dog eared. I have been interested in Cuba for a while (history, politcs, art, music, society) but nothing I have read has come close to being as comprehensive and intelligently written as this book. Corbett visits all aspects of Cuban life and paints a vibrant portrait of an incredibly complex country. He carefully and clearly exposes a lot of misconceptions about the island and doesn't pull any punches when it comes to disc...more
It's difficult to believe that the Cuban people live in a Communist dictatorship devoid of any human warmth or happiness, likewise it's impossible to believe that they live in veritable utopia. I imagine the truth lies somewhere in the middle and I think Corbett has addressed that.
He handles the volatile subject of Cuba with an even hand, discussing everything from the 1959 revolution to music to the black market. I can't help but wonder though, how would this book read if written by an actual C...more
It's been quite awhile since I've read this book, so I can't remember all the good or bad things about it. Two issues I remember having were the title is a misnomer as all but one chapter is dedicated to Havana, omitting much about the rest of life in Cuba; and he spoke with only one pro-Castro person, which could either mean no one really supports Castro and what he stood for, or it is a very one-sided book. I do remember, however, liking Corbett's writing style and the people he introduced to...more
I've had this for awhile - after reading Cuba Diaries: An American Housewife in Havana I wanted to learn more about Cuban culture. An interesting read, although not knowing Cuban history it is a little hard to follow. The author sprinkles it throughout, but I could have used a timeline or summary at the beginning to gain some context.
Great information about Cuba in 2002. Not sure how much is the same today. Certainly in the epilogue where Corbett says that Raul will never take his brother's place is not true, so what else?
I loved this book and not just because I work for Wal-Mart. Sam was one of a kind.
i am OBSESSED with this country.
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