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The Truth About Cuba: Seven Recommended Reads for the Curious Traveler

November 7, 2012 in Cuba, Literature, Politics

1. The Old Man And The Sea

Ernest Hemingway (fiction, 1952)

The Old Man And The Sea was Ernest Hemingway’s last fiction published during his lifetime. It was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for literature in 1953. The novella tells the story of Santiago, an aging fisherman, and his attempt to transcend natural laws. In Santiago we find a hero, and a representative of Cuba and its people through the eyes of Hemingway.

2. Trading With The Enemy: A Yankee Travels Through Castro’s Cuba

Tom Miller (non-fiction, 2008)

Tom Miller chronicles his eighth month trip with unrestricted access to the country and its people in this recent and eye-opening account of modern day Cuba.  Ripe with literary history, Miller follows the paths of Jose Marti, Graham Greene and Ernest Hemingway.

3. Cuba Diaries: An American Housewife in Havana

Isadora Tattlin (non-fiction, 2003)

Tattlin, after moving to Cuba in the early 1990s because of her husband’s job, kept a detailed narrative of her time in a country full of contradictions, and her reflections of being a wife, a mother, and an ex-patriot in a simultaneously beautiful and troubled country. It takes place during the peak of Castro’s reign.

4. Our Man In Havana:

Graham Greene (fiction, 1958)

A true page-turner and espionage thriller, Our Man In Havana follows the story of former vacuum cleaner-salesman-turned-secret-agent James Wormwold and his experience working in Cuba. Written by British author Graham Greene, (who was a part of M16) the book is part satire, part black comedy, and is a humorous and eye-opening view of Cuba during the Batista regime.

5. Cuba: Another Side of The Story: Memoirs of A Cuban Childhood

Iris M. Diaz (non-fiction, 2010)

The story of Ms. Diaz is the story of many Cubans who left the island in 1961, with no money in their pockets and dreams of a brighter future. Diaz’s story is one of struggle and tenacity, and her eventual success as a contemporary American citizen who remains loyal to her Cuban heritage.

6. The Splendor Of Cuba: 450 Years of Architecture and Interiors

Written by Michael Connors, Photographed by Brent Winebrenner (Art, architecture 2011)

In this stunning visual and literary history of Cuba’s architecture, Connors and Winebrenner capture not only the derelict Cuba of Castro’s reign, but also the lavish beauty of Cuba’s Spanish Creole aristocracy.  The book travels from Havana to Finca Vigia, (Hemingway’s home) and provides close-ups of balustrades, grilles and all that is Cuba’s faded glory and meticulously kept majesty.

7. Lonely Planet: Cuba

(Travel, 2009)

Included is a full color section on Cuba’s music, festivals, natural beauty and architecture, and a unique green index that makes eco friendly travel easy. Lonely Planet provides vital information on anything from deep-sea fishing to dining and traveling safely and efficiently.

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