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Castro's Curveball

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  102 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
Everybody has a past; some are more intriguing than others. When retired schoolteacher Billy Bryan's daughter begins cleaning his house a few days after his wife's death, she finds in the forgotten pages of his dusty scrapbook part of a past she's never known. The memories they invoke send the grieving Billy--"I think God has fed me a breaking ball to keep me off balance"- ...more
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Published July 20th 2010 by Blackstone Audiobooks (first published February 9th 1999)
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This was Brilliant, the use of historical incidents like the Moncada attacks,Assassination attempt on the Dominican Republic's Raphael Trujillio along with the rise of Fidel made this a tremendous read. You need to understand and know some Cuban history to get much of the reading which I liked. The Capri/Tropicana/Malecon/Hotel Nacional etc. are all mentioned and well represented. A fine representation of the Cuban Revolution period.
Jan 12, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cuba
An odd book with which to be resuming my participation in Goodreads, but ….. it addresses my interests in Cuba and in baseball. There’s very little in it about two other main interests, cats or bicycles, but one of the book's morals is that you can’t have everything, and maybe, not anything.

Billy Bryan is a journeyman catcher whose minor league career is drawing to a close during winter ball in 1947 in Havana (reminiscent of Bull Durham). A bunch of Cuban college kids disrupt one of his team’s g

Tim Wendel's Castro's Curveball is a light, pleasant novel that brings together pre-revolutionary--late 1940s--Havana, Fidel Castro, and baseball. You need to suspend disbelief, but it plays on Castro's love of baseball and the rumor that he'd been signed by the Washington Senators. In this book, Havana Lions catcher Billy Bryan is the one who is trying to sign him. After many years, Billy returns to Cuba during the Special Period with his daughter to
Johnny Stanko
Oct 04, 2012 rated it liked it
This book is about the evil communist Fedel Castro before he ran the counrty. He was a naturally amazing baseball player and had alot of skill. This is mostly of his journey before becoming the crual leader that he was, and how good of a person he could have been. I gave this 3 stars because I didnt find alot of enjoyment in this book as I usually do in others, It was good but not for me. "Maybe he isnt all that bad of a guy." Said by the narrorator of the book on pg. 56, it shows that maybe he ...more
Perhaps I don't know enough about Cuba or Castro to realize that this book is not good. If the author's ability to accurately portray life in Cuba during the early 1950's is limited, as I suspect, it is somewhat mitigated by his passages about baseball, which I very much enjoyed. I also liked his depiction of the younger Billy Bryan, the main character in the book. He's a baseball player clearly at the end of the line, but still burning with indignation that he never "got his shot" in the big le ...more
Brent Soderstrum
Aug 16, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a three way love story between the narrator, his Cuban girlfriend and Fidel Castro. It also uses baseball in Havana Cuba as the background. Bryan is the narrator and American catcher playing winter ball in Cuba. Castro is a young revolutionary with a great curveball. Bryan is instructed to get him signed to a Washinton Senators contract. All this is going on while Castro is moving to liberate Cuba.

This is all a flashback because the main story deals with Bryan going back to Cuba with hi
Narrated by LJ Ganser. In 1947 Cuba, Billy Bryan is a pitcher playing winter baseball when he meets Fidel Castro during a political protest at one of his games. He asks Fidel to throw some pitches and he is surprisingly good. Papa Joe, a baseball scout for the Washington Senators presses Billy to get Fidel to sign with the Senators. But Fidel seems more involved and committed to revolutionary activities. Billy also falls in love with Lena, a photographer and revolutionist. Descriptive of the tim ...more
May 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great insight into life in Cuba prior to reveloution.... If you think recruiting baseball playes from the Caribbean is something new....think again. Imagine Castro pitching in a World Series.

Given todays political climate between US and Cuba..... you may again see spring training in Cuba
Gerry LaFemina
Sep 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although the frame is a bit contrived at times, the overall narrative is compelling and wonderfully done, with an eye toward history, character, and landscape. Wendel writes a novel that breaks much like Castro's curveball and left me shaking my head at the plate.
Mar 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Probably one of the best I've read in a while. A riveting story with sharp, tight prose that's a pleasure to read.
May 10, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adults
Communists heart baseball. Casey hearts baseball. Casey did not heart this book that much.
Jason Tudor
Jan 12, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed the premise and the story. Well done.
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Mar 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book
Very plausible historical "what if" about Castro's imagined opportunity to play baseball in the Major Leagues. Wendel's knowledge of baseball and Cuba combined with his fast-moving writing style make an enjoyable read.
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Tim Wendel is an award-winning novelist and journalist. He is the author of 13 books, including Summer of '68: The Season When Baseball, and America, Changed Forever and Castro's Curveball: A Novel. His stories have appeared in Gargoyle and The Potomac Review, and his articles in The New York Times, Esquire, GQ, Washingtonian and USA Today. A writer-in-residence at Johns Hopkins University, Tim ...more
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