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Last Dance in Havana

3.38 of 5 stars 3.38  ·  rating details  ·  21 ratings  ·  9 reviews
In power for forty-four years and counting, Fidel Castro has done everything possible to define Cuba to the world and to itself -- yet not even he has been able to control the thoughts and dreams of his people. Those thoughts and dreams are the basis for what may become a post-Castro Cuba. To more fully understand the future of America's near neighbor, veteran reporter Eug ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published June 27th 2007 by Free Press (first published 2004)
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Adam
Jul 19, 2011 Adam rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Adam by: Prof. Kaplowitz
As an intro to Cuba, I'll certainly take a study of contemporary music scenes over a purely historical narrative any day. That said, with no real interest in the Cuban music scene, the metaphors of Robinson's reporting are quite possibly lost on me.

'Last Dance in Havana' describes the contradictions of Cuban life that are dredged up through music and its associated scenes. While music is a pervasive if not ubiquitous force, it struggles between being a purely expressive form and one that must be
...more
Jeffrey Otto
In this easy to read layman's anthropology of life in contemporary Cuba, Eugene Robinson has weaved together an endearing portrait of a society and culture that time, but not rhythm, seems to have forgotten. Set in the early part of the current decade (copyrighted 2004), modern Cuba is place where car ownership must be approved by the Maximum Leader himself and ordinary folks do unordinary things in pursuit of dollars. The only facet of life in Cuba that seems more precarious than the economy i ...more
Catherine
This book is primarily about the music scene in Cuba, but because the author is Eugene Robinson I was pretty sure that there would be a lot of politics and personalities included. During his second visit to Cuba in the early 1990s, Robinson observed the increased government control of the messages musicians were permitted to express. Musicians quizzed him about the availability and marketing of their music in the U.S. because they had no way of checking into it themselves. Interestingly, at the ...more
Grace
2.5 stars... Found this at the FF library. Not into the author's style. Too many unnecessary long superficial descriptions. But I'm getting a sense of opinions and attitudes that I couldn't find out on my own during my trip. Also, I love learning about the music history and the politcal history. Author redeemed in last 2 chapters addressing Fidel's frightening and still fervent omnipotence. Otherwise it's a difficult one to recommend unless you're fascinated by Cuba like I am.
Ryan
I like the level of description of Cuban life and I love his dance analogy. I even kind of like how he uses his narrative to cast himself as the observant outsider at dozens of clubs and concerts. I get the feeling that maybe he wasn't such an outsider. A fun winter read and a great way to get a feel for Cuba without sneaking over there yourself.
John
Aug 31, 2007 John rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those intersted in Cuba or music genres
Shelves: travel, library_books
Story of the Afro-Cuban music scene. Not as general interest as I'd thought, but still a good book.


tom shaffer
Oct 13, 2008 tom shaffer is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
a good book about music in cuba by eugene robinson, my favorite editorial page guy in the w.post
KJ
terrible writing but interesting stuff
JoAnn
It was ok...interesting but the author worked the music thing too hard in an effort to find a way to describe his cuba experience
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