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

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  136 Ratings  ·  14 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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Mar 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent and I wish I had been able to read it before traveling. It confirmed much of what I suspected, explained other things I didn't know, and left me with a marked respect for the Cuban people.
Jeff Kelleher
Feb 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
May 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, cultural
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
Ricardo Ribeiro
Oct 07, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: unreadable
This is an awfully biased book. I don't really know what else I can write in a review of it. Reading the preface is like reading a statement from the US State Department. I couldn't go much further. I really dislike this kind of open propaganda spiced with prejudice and probably lack of knowledge. It made me raise an eyebrow when I noticed the author visited Cuba for the first time in 1998 and the book was published four years later... sounds like a tourist decided to write a 320 pages about Cub ...more
An American journalist who's spent a lot of time in Cuba recounts the issues of life and government in Cuba, its contradictions, and how ordinary Cubans are trying to survive. The government rails against the imperialist American government, yet the dollar economy is valued more than the peso economy. Cubans who try to earn money by serving the tourist trade are taxed heavily. Tourism is what will save the Cuban economy yet the government prefers that it be the one raking in the dollars. Cubans ...more
Jan 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
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
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
Oct 10, 2007 rated it liked it
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.
Mar 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book and not just because I work for Wal-Mart. Sam was one of a kind.
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