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3.7  ·  Rating details ·  924 Ratings  ·  85 Reviews
It is where Fidel Castro raised money to overthrow Batista and where two generations of Castro's enemies have raised armies to overthrow him, so far without success. It is where the bitter opera of Cuban exile intersects with the cynicism of U.S. foreign policy. It is a city whose skyrocketing murder rate is fueled by the cocaine trade, racial discontent, and an undeclared ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published September 29th 1998 by Vintage (first published 1987)
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Sep 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: americana, reportage
Miami è la città cubana con il più alto numero di popolazione bianca statunitense (anglos).
La ridotta distanza dall’isola, le consente di essere per certi versi parte dell’isola: si può partire da Miami con un buon motoscafo per andare a prendere l’aperitivo all’Avana e rientrare in nottata (Miami Vice, il film di Michael Mann).

Gong Li e Colin Farrell prendono il motoscafo da Miami per andare a bere un mohito a L’Avana ne
Aug 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
"Havana vanities come to dust in Miami."
- Joan Didion, Miami


"The shadowy missions, the secret fundings, the conspiracies beneath conspiracies, the deniable support by parts of the U.S. government and active discouragement by other parts--all these things have fostered a tensely paranoid style in parts of our own political life, Didion suggests.

Miami is us, and the tangled tales we heard recently of private armies and retired generals fighting their own lucrative wars provide something of a retr
Mar 21, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: lurid, war, massacres, travels
The first third of Miami seemed to promise nothing more than amusing reportage—when drug traffickers go house-hunting they look for private water access; Tony Montana became a mythic hero almost the instant Scarface premiered—but then it began to hit much harder. Didion is so good that any subject she takes up seems her destined one, the exclusive focus of her brooding brilliance; but reading Miami I was tempted to narrow things down and say she’s truly in her element among covert missions and c ...more
This was a thrift store offer I couldn't refuse; a Joan Didion book I'd never heard of for a nickel. But did I really care to read her impressionistic musings on the city of Miami (as of the mid-1980s, when this was penned) and the complicated influence/history of the Cuban-exile community on it? Maybe not, but Didion hooked me right off the bat.

Reading the comments of some others here, I find some predictable grousing about Didion being as a sort of female, white-privileged, racist interloper;
Jul 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: miami
Joan Didion's writing is a touchstone in my life, has been since The White Album. This book suits her style to a T, urgent, riveting, exposing the underbelly. She has the same fascination I have with sordid corruption in politics and circles of power, and Miami is a city rampant with both. The Nicaraguan war was basically run from Miami. That has been established not just in this book, but in many others. The CIA and conservative Cuban exiles who fled Castro teamed up and turned the city into a ...more
Lori Marie Ramirez
Sep 03, 2014 rated it liked it
Wow! So as the white Anglo Saxon perspective of a city that successfully blends two cultures it's no surprise to find racism disguised behind the mask of a liberal. What, there are people who don't speak English or agree with my politics, what is America coming to? Didion, who has never lived in South Florida, has written an embarrassing book that will look worse as time passes and America becomes multicultural. At first, this book was extremely addictive and the history aspect of it had me read ...more
This one took me a while to get into. The narrative, if you will, is non-linear, opaque, and often confusing and contradictory sounding. But that's the point. Didion stirs a tropical cauldron of politics, actions, laments, lies and reversals. The end result is a heat-dream snapshot of a Miami often closer culturally to Cuba than America.
Mar 14, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I was raised among Cubans (dated and darn near married a couple) during the period described by Didion, although I was on the other Florida coast (Tampa, and the Cuban community there was a bit different in outlook), and I paid rather close attention to the raucous (destructive) cocaine days and racial discord of that wild city east across the Everglades. Politically Cuban Americans can be an intense people, but personally I have found few as welcoming, generous, boisterous, fun-loving, and warm ...more
Jun 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: grad-school
I really enjoyed this book, which was nothing if not well researched and structured. I appreciated how Didion started small, with the city itself, and grew the book outward, to encompass not just Cuba but other Central and South American countries, as well as other American cities, especially Washington. Her picture of interconnectedness was fabulous, and her diction also great. She used a great deal of repetition in both word and phrase, which I appreciated, as she I'd it when the emphasis was ...more
Dec 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Didion continues to be my favorite non-fiction author. The precision of her language matches the precision of her analysis, whether she's describing on the micro scale of how minute gestures of an interviewee reveal their worldview, or the macro scale of Washington politics in the Reagan era. Here (circa '87) she's plumbing the gulf between Miami's Cuban and Anglo populations, and the complicated relation of Cuban anti-Castro militants to Washington, "la lucha" (the struggle) and each other. Man ...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Missing cover to add 1 9 Jan 21, 2016 01:41PM  
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Joan Didion was born in California and lives in New York City. She's best known for her novels and her literary journalism.

Her novels and essays explore the disintegration of American morals and cultural chaos, where the overriding theme is individual and social fragmentation. A sense of anxiety or dread permeates much of her work.
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“Havana vanities come to dust in Miami.” 0 likes
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