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Last Dance in Havana

3.73  ·  Rating Details ·  30 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
Book by Robinson, Eugene
Paperback, 288 pages
Published June 27th 2007 by Free Press (first published 2004)
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Apr 09, 2011 Jeffrey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 19, 2011 Adam rated it it was ok
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
Jun 03, 2015 Robin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book talks about how important music and dancing is to the Cuban people. By highlighting the lives of some of the more famous Cuban musicians and the lifestyles of some of the Cuban people, the author was also telling us what it is like to live under the communism of Fidel Castro. I found this part very, very interesting, but not quite so enlightening as I would have thought. I've been to the USSR, Prague and East Germany under communism, so there wasn't much new. I found the book a little ...more
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
Apr 10, 2012 Grace rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jan 04, 2011 Ryan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Dec 25, 2015 Irene rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author gave us a good look at Cuba on the cusp of change. Now that Fidel Castro is on his way out and relations between Cuba and the USA are improving, it will indeed be interesting to see what becomes of this island nation.
Susan Richards
Aug 31, 2015 Susan Richards rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Great preparation for upcoming trip to Cuba. Eugene Robinson writes with both love and a clear eye. He is prescient regarding the coming changes. A great chapter on Santeria, and excellent picture of the underground rappers, protesting through their music.
Aug 31, 2007 John rated it liked it  ·  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.

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
Jan 10, 2008 KJ rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
terrible writing but interesting stuff
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
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