Havana Nocturne

Havana Nocturne

How the Mob Owned Cuba-- and Then Lost It to the Revolution / T.J. English

Book - 2008
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In modern-day Havana, the remnants of the glamorous past are everywhere--old hotel-casinos, vintage American cars & flickering neon signs speak of a bygone era that is widely familiar & often romanticized, but little understood. In Havana Nocturne, T.J. English offers a multifaceted true tale of organized crime, political corruption, roaring nightlife, revolution & international conflict that interweaves the dual stories of the Mob in Havana & the event that would overshadow it, the Cuban Revolution.

As the Cuban people labored under a violently repressive regime throughout the 50s, Mob leaders Meyer Lansky & Charles "Lucky" Luciano turned their eye to Havana. To them, Cuba was the ultimate dream, the greatest hope for the future of the US Mob in the post-Prohibition years of intensified government crackdowns. But when it came time to make their move, it was Lansky, the brilliant Jewish mobster, who reigned supreme. Having cultivated strong ties with the Cuban government & in particular the brutal dictator Fulgencio Batista, Lansky brought key mobsters to Havana to put his ambitious business plans in motion.

Before long, the Mob, with Batista's corrupt government in its pocket, owned the biggest luxury hotels & casinos in Havana, launching an unprecedented tourism boom complete with the most lavish entertainment, the world's biggest celebrities, the most beautiful women & gambling galore. But their dreams collided with those of Fidel Castro, Che Guevara & others who would lead the country's disenfranchised to overthrow their corrupt government & its foreign partners--an epic cultural battle that English captures in all its sexy, decadent, ugly glory.

Bringing together long-buried historical information with English's own research in Havana--including interviews with the era's key survivors--Havana Nocturne takes readers back to Cuba in the years when it was a veritable devil's playground for mob leaders. English deftly weaves together the parallel stories of the Havana Mob--featuring notorious criminals such as Santo Trafficante Jr & Albert Anastasia--& Castro's 26th of July Movement in a riveting, up-close look at how the Mob nearly attained its biggest dream in Havana--& how Fidel Castro trumped it all with the revolution.
Publisher: New York :, William Morrow,, [2008]
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2008
ISBN: 9780061147715
Branch Call Number: 364.1060972 EN
Characteristics: pages cm


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2009 nominee - also available as downloadable audiobook in RBdigital

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May 30, 2015

Very well researched and written account of the development of Havana as the gambling mecca in the post WWII years, along with the history of Cuba and the lead up to the revolution. US involvement was all over the place, at one time supporting Fidel and other times dictator Batista. A good read, would have made a good novel if not factual.

Feb 06, 2012

Cuba prior to Castro. It gives a great account of why the US has avoided involvement in Cuba for 50 years, how Batista ruled Cuba and Castro took control, and how the Mafia nearly rose to power internationally. Great read and tidbit about John F. Kennedy before he became President is why this book is fun to read.

Jul 12, 2011

Great overview of the Havana Mob and Castro's Revolution - a quick read and you don't need to know much about either the mafia or the revolution to understand and enjoy the story.


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