Cuba eBook µ Paperback

Cuba Impressive historical account of the people of Cuba whose whole philosophy of life is revolution and mostly for the sake of itVIVA LA REVOLUCIÓN This is a comprehensive History of Cuba from 1762 to 1971 Although it has minor inaccuracies and a few typos Thomas narrative is both entertaining and informative and easy to read despite the 1700 pages It covers the last 100 years of the Spanish colonial period the several wars for independence and the days of the early Republic with nearly the second half of the book covering the periods of the Batista and Castro dictatorships Impressive is Thomas' coverage of the early days of the Cuban Revolution 1959 60 A detailed description of how the naïve and trusting provisional President Urrutia and his cabinet agreed to Castro's proposal for them to rule by decree subtly dismantling rights in the 1940 constitution with the purpose of prosecuting Batistianos; and we are also told how Castro deceived his liberal and moderate allies in the struggle against Batista and was able to form an alliance with the Communists starting in early 1959 consolidating his power as defense minister and the implementer of the agrarian reform eventually having a strong enough power base by mid 1960 when he cancelled elections suppressed freedom of the press and continued a campaign of property confiscation Thomas will sometimes go into detailed narration of events such as the agrarian reform and gives a brief description of the initial implementation of Castro's police state by the G2 Cuba's undercover police euivalent of the KGB and the neighborhood watch committees Events in 1959 60 such as the cancellation of elections and the confiscation of private property set up confrontations with the US which resulted in the Bays of Pigs in 1961 and the Missile Crises in 1962 As a matter of fact this book by Thomas is recommended in my own book about Memories from the Land of the Intolerant Tyrant available from Blue Note Books as one of the best about Fidel Castro Castro and the Cuban Revolution Hugh Thomas's Cuba The Pursuit of Freedom first published in 1971 intermittently updated over the years is a massive look at the island's tumultuous history from the British occupation of Havana in 1762 through the early years of Castro's regime When I say massive I mean the first edition's over 1600 pages It's to Thomas's credit that for all the painstaking depth he provides the book's never boring He charts Cuba's evolution under Spanish rule from a complacent slave colony to an island seething with tension; the nationalist movements of the late 19th Century culminating in the Spanish American War and the island's nominal independence under American economic suzerainty; the succession of impotent democrats and authoritarian goons in the 20th Century; the constant interference of outside powers and particularly the United States in its affairs; the Batista Regime and of course Castro's rise to power If nothing else it's an interesting case study of how thoroughly imperialism and external meddling can warp a society struggling to forge its own identity After centuries of abuse and trampling even a despot like Castro whom Thomas doesn't seem to particularly like can seem appealing if he says and does the right things To Thomas's credit the book's not a diatribe but a clear eyed analysis allowing facts figures and events to tell their own damning tale Más bien una visión de cómo España Estados Unidos y la URSS han influido en la historia cubana ue la historia cubana propiamente tal De todos modos un buen libro ue a pesar del tamaño no aburre en su relato Lo compré justo antes de mi viaje a Cuba uería empaparme de la historia de Cuba tratar de comprender a ese pueblo encapsulado en el tiempo y de la magnánima figura de Castro Si bien es la historia a grandes rasgos uedé perplejo ante ella Existe una Cuba antes de Castro y una Cuba después de Castro En la primera Cuba siempre dependió o se sometió a países extranjeros como España o USA En la segunda Cuba es independiente aunue aún arrastró su característica de dependencia ahora por la URSS En síntesis es un buen libro ue me ayudó a comprender la historia de esta revolucionaria isla Very boring and poorly structured It is shamefully easy to lose salient points in a book like this The book gives a thorough history of Cuba It takes a while to read and digest all of the information It's for studying Cuba than it is for pleasure reading but its a very satisfying read Best read in combination with the Motorcycle Diaries and Che A Revolutionary Life Una historia de Cuba a partir de 1762 el año de la invasión inglesa hasta después del colapso de la URSS Fascinante especialmente los años últimos de Batista y los primeros de Castro Muy recomendable This book is very big It's also inadeuate I would not recommend this to anyone who wants to gain a general overview of the history of Cuba It's also biased and spends a lot of time dwelling on the things it's biased againstThe author does a good summary of Cuba's early history and goes into uite a bit of detail about the slave trade Packing the chapters out with extra info of events that happened outside of Cuba but that still affected important goings on on the island Like the British attitudes to the slave trade over the years Which helps the reader gain a in depth understanding of not just the slave trade relative to Cuba but to the international slave trade Which the book is very good at The book also gives a good portrayal of Cuban US relations before the revolution particularly with regards to the potential for full Cuban annexation that existed several times pre revolution The book is most interesting particularly from my point of view in regards to the history of the Communist Party in Cuba particularly before the 26th July movement The author gives a detailed view of the party from the earliest relevant moment and this is interesting to learn how the party operated along orthodox Marxist Leninist lines than the 26th July movement and Castro and then how these two forces were melded together in the government of Cuba Trade union activities are given less of a focus Also what was really fascinating is that the book mentions a Cuban Communist Party delegate heading to Europe I forget which country to attend the general assembly of the World Federation of Democratic Youth I was a delegate to the same assembly much recently though in HavanaI felt some of the minor political details of the 1800's and early 1900's could have been left out in favour of a overarching historical narrative in the vein of 'the political debate gradually shifted towards x which eventually led to y taking place' rather than tedious page after page of relatively insignificant facts that would be suited to books with a defined topic than just a general history of Cuba Although fair play to Thomas for putting the hours inWhat really irritates me is the author's biased against Castro He must spend at least the latter uarter of the book focusing on this man he obviously doesn't like The author also uses some very loaded terms to describe Fidel Comparing Fidel's speeches to Hitler's is not clever 'Oh This guy is a very charismatic speaker so was Hitler' is a fucking dumb thing to say considering both people's politics are completely different and have led to vastly different things This is merely the author's cheap way of trying to dismiss someone who's politics he doesn't like with a flippant sentence rather than engaging in an intellectual critiueThomas is also very down on some of the immensely positive things Cuba has done 'What literacy levels taken from like 30% to near 100%? Nah let's make that seem not important' His account of the Cuban Missile Crisis is also brief and fleeting which you would think would be an important topic to dwell on considering Weirdly nothing is mentioned of the Sino Soviet split which considering it happened a decade before the book ends might be considered worth a mention especially considering it was a deciding factor in Cuba's direction at the timeAlso the book proper ends in 1970 the author says that by the time the book reaches 1959 he is treading the line between history and journalism Although the author adds a tiny little epilogue in an attempt to update it This doesn't make up for the near half century since the book was first published Yes things are in flux the process of history makes that inevitable But fifty years? This book's perspective is out of date TL;DR book is ok for some of the facts and figures and the earlier portion but basically get something newer I found Gott's Cuba A New History better and concise From award winning historian Hugh Thomas Cuba A History is the essential work for understanding one of the most fascinating and controversial countries in the worldHugh Thomas's acclaimed book explores the whole sweep of Cuban history from the British capture of Havana in 1762 through the years of Spanish and United States domination down to the twentieth century and the extraordinary revolution of Fidel CastroThroughout this period of over two hundred years Hugh Thomas analyses the political economic and social events that have shaped Cuban history with extraordinary insight and panache covering subjects ranging from sugar tobacco and education to slavery war and occupationEncyclopaedic in range and breathtaking in execution Cuba is surely one of the seminal works of world history'An astonishing feat the author does to explain the phenomenon of Fidel's rise to power than anybody else has done so far'    Spectator'Brilliant'   The New York Times'Immensely readable Thomas's notion of history's scope is generous for he has not limited himself to telling old political and military events; he describes Cuban culture at all stages not merely accessible but absorbing His language is witty but never mocking crisp but never harsh'    New Yorker'Thomas seems to have talked to everybody not dead or in jail and read everything He is scrupulously fair'    TimeHugh Thomas is the author of among other books The Spanish Civil War 1962 which won the Somerset Maugham Award Cuba The Pursuit of Freedom 1971 An Unfinished History of the World 1979 and the first two volumes of his Spanish Empire trilogy Rivers of Gold 2003 and The Golden Age 2010

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