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Table of Contents

Return to Havana; Hatuey's Revenge; The Exterminating Angel; Time of the Mameyes; Don Tabaco and Dona Azucar; Exiles; The Apostle of Freedom; Remembering the Maine; The Republic of Rumba; Hemingway's Ghost; Havana Nights; Che's Revolution; Adios, Havana.

About the Author

ALFREDO JOSE ESTRADA was the editor-in-chief of Vista magazine, which is distributed in over thirty newspapers and is the largest publication for U.S. Hispanics in the country. Born in Havana and educated at Harvard, he lives in Austin, Texas, USA.


Few cities parallel the charm and grace of Cuba's old Havana. Yet Havana loses three buildings a day to decay and collapse; 1400 structures are abandoned every year. In short, the Havana of the 19th and early 20th centuries-to say nothing of its 16th-, 17th-, and 18th-century remnants-will not be around much longer unless drastic renovation and restoration occur, which is unlikely. These dire facts make this small book, a virtual travelog through the heart of "the Pearl of the Antilles," that much more appealing. Estrada (founder, Hispanic magazine; Welcome to Havana) guides us through the city while relating the history of Cuba, his focus always on Havana. As much a tale of tobacco, sugar, and slaves, this delightful account leaves no stone unturned and reveals fascinating historical insights. Estrada's chapters on Ernest Hemingway in Havana and social life during the casino/mobster era are pure gems. He spares neither expansionist U.S. policies nor Fidel Castro's socialism from blame for Cuba's present state. Highly recommended.-Boyd Childress, Auburn Univ. Lib., AL Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

"'Captures the imagination from the first page to the last. Estrada illuminates this legendary city as never before.' - Oscar Hijuelos 'Havana: Autobiography of a City' captures the imagination from the first page to the last. Brimming with curiosities, anecdotes, obscure facts and seductive personalities, the narrative reads as a blend of history, novel, and lyric essay. Estrada illuminates this legendary city as never before.' - Oscar Hijuelos, author of Pulitzer Prize-winning The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love 'This is narrative history at its best: Alfredo Jose Estrada makes Havana come alive as a dynamic entity with its own personality, tracing its development from colonial days to the present. It is also the best compact history of Cuba ever written in English. Beautifully worded, masterfully paced, the narrative can sweep you away and take you to Havana, at least in spirit. It is vivid enough to make any exile weep. When Havana finally sheds its monstrous dictatorship, this will be the book to take along and savor, page by page, street by street.' - Carlos Eire, author of Waiting for Snow in Havana: Confessions of a Cuban Boy 'A fascinating historical overview of a fascinating city. Insightful and interesting, a penetrating look at the rise and fall of one of the most beautiful Latin American capitals.'- Jaime Suchlicki, Professor and Director, Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies, University of Miami, USA"

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