34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on 15 September 2002
On first receiving the book I initially felt a little disappointed with the large print and only 200+ pages.. I am a "Cuban obsessive" and will read as much material on the subject as possible but have to admit being bored of the general travel, history, Che, Fidel etc being much more interested in "Cuba's. Contradictions" and like. The book is easygoing, light reading grabbing your interest from the beginning. It covers all of the topics that you would expect to see including cigars, music, religion both black and white including Santeria, baseball, the black market and politics while at the same time delving into more everyday life, survival and the little complexities that initially you would not give a second thought.
It also starts to build a story around a few of the main characters with a good twist at the end that I certainly was unprepared for. You can feel the passion that this Ted Ferguson has for Cuba, fully understanding why he would want to write about it. Through his writing he demonstrates the problems that Cuban's face on a day to day basis, while at the same time portraying the island as a paradise.
On a negative note, while there is not a lot on history there is still some, however it does tend to blend in well. There are times when I felt that I would have liked him to delve further into a subject and just as it was grabbing my interest he brought the chapter to a timely end.
Personally I feel that the book will appeal to the first time traveller to Cuba, especially if they wanted to get more of a feel for the real Cuba and not just the tourist side, that the everyday guide book offers. In fact reading this might just stir someone enough to want to visit. However, the beauty here is that it will also appeal to anyone with an avid interest in the island.
Read it while on your flight there it will leave you wanting for more ....the "real thing"
on 31 March 2013
I chose to give this book five stars as it truly was a delight to read. This book was a wonderful insight to Cuba, the ins and outs of modern day Cuba. If you love travel books, you will love this. If you love what different cultures can bring to your world of knowledge, this is for you. The way Ted Ferguson writes, can be humorous yet so beautiful. When you read this and if your anything like me, you will see yourself in Cuba whilst reading this. After I read this book, it made me want to go out there and experience what Ted experienced. Will travel to Cuba one day.
on 3 December 2009
Wonderfully, evocatively written and very easy to get into and stay with, this account by someone who has made personal connections with some of the locals over many visits is a real eye-openener for anyone interested in travelling to the country, and should be required reading for anyone going on a beach holiday there in one of the secluded luxury resorts...