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Havana

(Earl Swagger #3)

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3.85  ·  Rating details ·  2,752 ratings  ·  113 reviews
High summer in Cuba, 1953, and Havana gleams with possibility. Flush with booming casinos, sex and drugs, Havana is a lucrative paradise for everyone from the Mafia, Domino Sugar, and United Fruit to pimps, porn-makers, and anyone looking to grab a piece of the action - including the Cuban government, which naturally honors the interests of its old ally, Uncle Sam. Of cour ...more
Audio, 0 pages
Published October 14th 2003 by Brilliance Audio (first published October 7th 2003)
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Average rating 3.85  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,752 ratings  ·  113 reviews


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Carol Storm
Actually a lot better than most of the later Swagger novels, if you can ignore the racist stereotyping of Cubans, and Italians, and Jews, and the complete absence of strong female characters.

Austin
Jan 04, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I do all my "reading" through listening to audio books. I loved the Earl Swagger books! I thought that Stephen Hunter did very well writing the time period. You just couldn't help but have the utmost respect for Earl. The only problem was the first two books had the same reader and he was perfect as the voice of Earl, very deep and rich a very masculine voice. But then this book they changed the reader. THEY RUINED THE BOOK!!! The writing was great but the reader was was pretty much the anti Ear ...more
Randy
Oct 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

High summer in Cuba, 1953, and Havana gleams with possibility. Flush with booming casinos, sex and drugs, Havana is a lucrative paradise for everyone from the Mafia, Domino Sugar, and United Fruit to pimps, porn-makers, and anyone looking to grab a piece of the action - including the Cuban government, which naturally honors the interests of its old ally, Uncle Sam.

Of course, where there's paradise, trouble can't be far behind. Trouble, in this case, makes its entrance in the terrifically charis

...more
DJMikeG
Aug 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not quite as good as "Hot Springs" but still an excellent action thriller filled with more plot twists and wild intrigue than you could ever possibly throw a stick at. (Not that you'd ever throw a stick at such things.... unless they were brought to you by Tom Clancy. I've wanted to throw sticks at his books before). Hunter is a master of this sort of writing and while the violence and manly man action is the main attraction, there are beautiful little passages of brilliant description, social c ...more
Pete
Jan 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another superbly crafted and entertaining novel in the Swagger series. This one kicks off with a terrific example of foreshadowing. Earl has his young son out on his first deer hunt explaining that the art of the hunt is having the patience to know when the moment is right for taking your prey. Of course this plays out for Earl himself later in the story. Enjoyed the Speshnev character who had a touch of Swagger in him and allowed the author to sprinkle some delightful humor throughout the novel ...more
Jim
Not a bad read, but he made caricatures of the main characters. The hero, Earl Swagger, was such a hero - good, faithful, loyal. The bad guys were so vile, dumb & almost comical, in some cases. It was just over the top.

The basic story was kind of interesting; Cuba before Castro took over. At the end of the book are two short articles that Hunter did after researching the area for his book.

For those fans of Bob Lee, we find out why he learned to shoot so well. If you haven't read any other book
...more
Mike
Apr 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a great character Swagger is. All American hero, hopelessly square and a straight shooter. Literally and figuratively. Surround him with a delighful potpourri of mafia, commies, sadists, crooked politicians, prostitutes and double agents and somehow, SOMEHOW, he comes through it all and back to the sanity that is rural Arkansas.

Add to that a Swagger-loving Rusky who is getting the young Fidel Castro up and going and you have a great adventure. The duplicity and cruelty of the other charact
...more
Douglas Misquita
There is something beautiful about reading a Stephen Hunter book. This one goes back to Bob Lee's daddy, Earl and boy is it one heck of a story. The prose is enough to put the reader in Havana, Cuba in the 50s; the story is fluid, the humour is lovely, and I'm wondering if more recently, Lee Child is influenced by Mr Hunter. Earl Swagger is unstoppable, inflappable, integrity personified. The hero. No wonder Bob turned out so.
I watched 2 seasons of Shooter but cannot approve of the casting becau
...more
Sean Goh
Apr 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Superbly written, showcasing the values each of the main characters live by, some likable, some despicable. All enjoyable to read.
___
"Oh. Well thanks for the truth."
"I didn't plan this world. I only live in it. If I didn't have responsibilities and I saw you at that bar and you smiled at me like that, I'd have fought the pacific all over again for you. But that can't happen. You know it, I know it. Knowing you has been the best thing about this trip by far. I wish there was more, but there ain't
...more
Larry
Dec 23, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Earl Swagger is back and tough as ever. After the first few pages of the book, I thought I knew the ending (since it involves Fidel Castro) but there are a few surprising plot twists. As always, there are interesting characters and a lot of he-man action. And great ending!

I also got a kick out of reading about Havana in its heyday because it brings to mind stores of my grandparents and mother vacationing there is the 30’s. What a place!


Bryan Pfahl
Mar 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great Book
Milt Jacobs
Nov 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you like guns you'll like this author. He goes on and on about different guns but the action is great.
Simon
Jun 10, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A disappointment...

Havana didn't really do it for me at all. All the characters, including the brief and almost gratuitous appearances by a young Bib-Lee are very two-dimensional and wooden; and the use of the Castro character is more a gimmick than a useful part of the plot. It would have been better if the identity of the Castro character had not been revealed until the end so that there was more an element of uncertainly about his survival. As someone else said in another review, all the char
...more
Dav
May 31, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: series-2-prime
Written with witt & humor, but much of the ending gets tedious and some vital detail is left out. There's some historical fiction on Castro, his failed revolt--attack on the military barracks, but much is fanciful.

1953, Havana is booming; casinos, sex, drugs, the mafia, big companies & the gov't is allied with Uncle Sam. Then Fidel brings revolution & backing from the Soviets. The US sends Earl to kill Castro. The USSR brings prisoner 4715, old Speshnev from a Siberian gulag to protect Fidel. Th
...more
Philip
Apr 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
Not as good and flowing as his blockbuster, Point of Impact. Interesting story anyway, this one mixes Yankee Imperialism, Communism, Mafia, Brothels, drugs and booze and dysfunctional Cuba and nerdy Harvard Grads. Earl Swagger and American hero icon is outclassed in this fast moving read by his Red counterpart, who seems to know the where, how, and why of Cuba politics. But, instead of being enemies Mr Vumholdt - vacuum salesman in Cuba, this is humorous and good, his cover. His real name Speshn ...more
Keith
Nov 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great read. If you enjoyed his book Point of Impact which was made into the 2007 movie Shooter, you will enjoy this book about Bob Lee Swagger's daddy, Earl Swagger who is tasked with taking out a young Cuban lawyer named Castro.

Thrilling reading from page to page.
Vijai
I am sorry, I just cannot accept the thought of Earl Swagger getting beaten up. Nope, can't do.

This book scores a two for just that.
AndyS
Jan 30, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The audio book reader did not fit the book well, so my review may be skewed negatively...
Dan
Sep 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The third part to Earl Swagger series. A fun story.
Prognomore LAFIANZA
All of Stephen Hunter's books beg to be made into movies, but this one, set ten years before the revolution, only needs to be reformatted into a shooting script to be a blockbuster.
Ed Larkin
Feb 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed the historical references mixed in with an entertaining plot.
Rory
Mar 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, adventure
great historical fiction with a believable plot and well developed characters. Stephen Hunter is a renoun writer and editor. He has other books out that I will definitely be ordering.
Jeremy Cox
Enjoyed it in parts, got bored in others. Definitely not as good as the first two in the series.
Amy Selvidge
Jun 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Havana kept me thinking, as all Stephen Hunter books do, and wondering what the truth was. Masterfully penned, this book details Castro's beginning.
Daniel Hebert
Still wrapping my head around Earl Swagger. Good story of not a bit long. Will take another look at Bob Lee.
Will
SUBJECTIVE READER REVIEW WITH PLOT SPOILERS FOLLOWS:

All hail, for Stephen Hunter ranks among the best of storytellers! 'Havana' held special interest for me as it was set in 1953 Cuba. I was born in 1951, so the decade of the 1950s was always history book stuff, but Hunter puts a totally different spin on it than any newspaper possibly could! I was amazed to the point of near boredom at Hunter's grasp of detail about greater Havana and Cuba until he pointed out in the Acknowledgements that 1) h
...more
Bob Cantrell
Jun 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the last in the Earl Swagger trilogy, but not the end of the story. This time Earl is tapped to do a dirty job for the CIA courtesy of one Walter Short. Now you may remember Walter from Hot Springs, if not just let me say read it before you read this one. Because things will be clearer to you about Walter. Does Earl do the job he is sent to do and if so why did he or didn't he? You good reader will have to find out. To say there are a few plot twists is like saying there are a few peanut ...more
Dwayne Wojtowicz
Jan 03, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I have read Stephen Hunter before and I have enjoyed it; however, his "Havana" is way far from excellent.

The plot is good and tight, but it took too long to develop it in the story. The characters, some very hard to believe, weren't all that good; the dialogue, maybe it was good, but not throughout the whole story; the scenery was drab, dull and bland. The only thing good about "Havana" was the scene changes.

I felt that Hunter couldn't pull this one together. He meander all over the place and to
...more
Meredith
It's difficult to write a novel that involves a relatively recent historical moment and person. And, in my opinion, Havana has that struggle. Castro is written as a fool - he doesn't bathe, he womanizes, he is politically clueless, etc. Granted, I could imagine that some of these things are true to some degree, but they are played as absolute caricatures. It's the Russian who is far more interesting than the man of the country they novel is named after.
Bill
Apr 17, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Had a hard time getting started on this book, but finally around page 300 it started to get better for me. Action junkie I guess. Rate it a 2.5, lowest of all my ratings by far. Have read and loved all his other books so far.
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Stephen Hunter is the author of fourteen novels, and a chief film critic at The Washington Post, where he won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland.
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Other books in the series

Earl Swagger (3 books)
  • Hot Springs (Earl Swagger, #1)
  • Pale Horse Coming (Earl Swagger, #2)

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