"Creating both a literary project and an historical mini-course on the early nineteenth to middle twentieth century, the editor has gathered writings mostly by Americans in Cuba who have tended to have a complex 'love/hate relationship' with the place. . . . In the end, most reveal their fondness for Cuba. . . . Those with a committed interest in the region will be grateful that this book takes them beyond the dissertations on Che Guevara and Fidel Castro."--"ForeWord Magazine"
Cuba has drawn and intrigued travelers ever since it was "discovered" by Columbus in 1492. Magnificently evoking the country's romance and drama as well as its darker episodes of slavery and tyranny, this selection of journal entries, essays, and guidebook commentaries transports the reader to the days when Havana sheltered Caribbean pirate treasure ships and was the gateway to the Spanish empire in the New World.
Later chapters reflect the "American era" when Cuba was transformed into a glittering tourist and gambler's paradise operated by the Mafia.
As with all good travelers' stories, this selection not only informs the reader but also fires the imagination. These tales of pre-revolutionary Cuba are filled with the flavor and manners of a bygone era, reflecting the various impressions of visitors to one of the most alluring islands on earth.
John Jenkins is an award-winning Australian poet and travel writer. The author of several books of poetry, two books on contemporary music, a libretto, and many other publications, Jenkins won the prestigious international James Joyce Foundation Suspended Sentence Award in 2004.