Alexander Santiago's Reviews > Havana Nocturne: How the Mob Owned Cuba & Then Lost it to the Revolution

Havana Nocturne by T.J. English
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's review
Jun 07, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: the-latin-experience
Read in July, 2008

I was always curious as to knowing more about the Mob ties to Cuba, as I knew just tidbits of info; 'Havana Nocturne' lays everything bare from the beginning to virtually that last shakened cocktail in the Mob-run casinos on that fateful New Year's Day of 1959. From Meyer Lansky, the Lower East Side kid who grew to be the brains behind the Mob muscle and brawn, and the brilliant architect of who was very close to making Havana the "Monte Carlo of the Caribbean"; President Fulgencio Batista, the dictator of Cuba who gave the go ahead to the Mob casinos on Havana - as long as he received large shares of the profits; and cast of characters who are steep in Mob lore: Lucky Luciano, Santo Trafficante, Bugsy Siegel, even the Chairman of the Board himself, Frank Sinatra, makes a guest appearance.

In addition to the Havana Mob syndicate who were intent on revamping the city, English also detailed the mores and attitudes of Havana which was quite the Sin City before Las Vegas, with very whim, predilection, vice and fantasy that could be indulged. And remember that character of "Superman" in Francis Ford Coppola's "The Godfather II"? He was a real person!! But of course, as history tells us, corrpution and a dictatorship breeds dissension, and eventually, a 'revolution' will take place, which all began with a Havana lawyer - Fidel Castro. Meticulously researched and concise, not to mention a thoroughly good read, "Havana Nocturne" almost begs to posit a 'What if . . ": if Batista had effectively squashed the Fidelistas, would Meyer have succeeded in transforming his "Pearl of the Antilles"? Makes you wonder. Highly recommended.
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04/18/2016 marked as: read

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Bill Palmer Nice review,Alex. You nailed it. A lot of depth, history and atmosphere in Havana Nocturne. Made me glad I read it but sorry I missed the real thing.

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