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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AN EXCELLENT SURVEY
This book should be read by everyone interested in Cuba, in Fidel Castro, and in a nation whose history goes back far earlier than its modern manifestation. Richard Gott has brought a lifetime of expertise to the task, and writes, as in all his books, with wit and wisdom. He has an enviable eye for fascinating, and telling detail, and he unravels history's "granny knots"...
Published on 19 Nov 2004

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Editing and analysis needed
This book is in desperate need of both decent editing and greater detail when it counts. It also fails to give any critical analysis and was a turgid list of facts which was dull to read and did not give me the detail of the critical events I was hoping for. The book is heavy on information but short in analysis or providing interesting detail or detail that really...
Published 11 months ago by JMJackson


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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AN EXCELLENT SURVEY, 19 Nov 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Cuba: A New History (Hardcover)
This book should be read by everyone interested in Cuba, in Fidel Castro, and in a nation whose history goes back far earlier than its modern manifestation. Richard Gott has brought a lifetime of expertise to the task, and writes, as in all his books, with wit and wisdom. He has an enviable eye for fascinating, and telling detail, and he unravels history's "granny knots" with unerring skill.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good survey, but occasionally problematic, 17 Aug 2008
This review is from: Cuba: A New History (Yale Nota Bene) (Paperback)
Cuba's history is vast and complex, and Gott does an admirable job in trying to make sense of it all. However, particularly in the first two and a half chapters, he struggles to maintain interest, and at times it can descend into what feels like a list of battles and names, with little overall coherence. Additionally, he constantly looks forward to the future, forseeing revolution 200 years before it happened. Such a teleological approach can be frustrating, and at times does lead to some inaccurate comparisons between historical figures and Raul, Fidel and Che.

However, in the more modern chapters, Gott does a fantastic job of providing a fair-minded review of Cuba's history. His analysis of the 20th century, and particularly the survey of Cuban-American relations, is detailed and wonderfully written. He makes sense of a complex subject, and provides an account which gives a strong sense of impartiality and intellectual analysis, free from moral critique of either side. For the later chapters, Gott really gets into his stride, and the book is very much worth reading for this analysis alone. Struggle through the first couple of dry chapters and you will discover a rich, well-written history.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cuba: A New History, 2 Nov 2008
By 
Spider Monkey (UK) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: Cuba: A New History (Yale Nota Bene) (Paperback)
'Cuba: A New History' is an excellent account of Cuban history up until this books publication in 2004. Gott manages to write in a completely engaging way and draws you in to the rich and diverse history of this amazing Caribbean island. This is in no way a dry and uninspiring read, but one that helps you immerse yourself in the history and developments over the years. From Spanish colonial rule, US intervention and soviet support, Cuba has managed to retain some remnant of it's own identity and this book shows this side perfectly. The first 100 pages (looking at Spanish Colonial rule and the slave trades to Cuba) were the hardest to engage with for me, but as soon as the revolution occurred and the book focused on the Castro government and all that it entails, I became hooked to this masterly text. The author doesn't seem overly biased one way or the other, although you can tell he has respect for this tiny island nation. He doesn't seem to be too sensationalist either, for example when Che Guevara dies it is noted in quite an understated way and not overly hyped to have a greater impact. Two minor flaws with this book are the tiny font which by the end had given me serious eye strain, why academic texts insist on using this size font I'll never know. And the other flaw is a distinct lack of decent photography to add to the package. There are a few pages of grey photos in the middle, but not on good quality paper, or especially relevant to the overall text, i've come to expect better from history books these days. These are minor flaws in what is a brilliant account of Cuban history which leaves you with some indication of what the future may hold as well. If Cuba interests you in the slightest, I'd seriously recommend you take a look at this book.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read, 21 Oct 2010
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This review is from: Cuba: A New History (Yale Nota Bene) (Paperback)
Still reading this book after visiting Cuba for the first time his year. Richard Gott's book is a very balanced view of Cuba's history, which is something that is not easy to find. It is very readable and you will understand how influential Cuba has been and is on our present lives
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44 of 54 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful account of Cuba's long struggle for sovereignty, 19 Nov 2004
By 
William Podmore (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Cuba: A New History (Hardcover)
Richard Gott is a British journalist and historian with many years' experience of covering Latin America. He has written a very useful book on Cuba's long struggle for national independence and sovereignty. The first third of the book examines the Cuban people's struggle against Spanish occupation from the 16th to the 19th centuries. The rest of the book looks at Cuba's 20th century struggle against the US empire.
The USA intervened militarily in Cuba in 1906-09, 1912, 1917-23 and 1961, always on the pretexts of establishing democracy and order. In 1902 the US state imposed the Platt Amendment on Cuba. Its seventh paragraph gave the USA the 'right' to establish permanent military bases on Cuba. It was repealed in 1934, but the dictator Batista signed a new treaty allowing the USA to keep its huge military base at Guantanamo Bay.
Gott shows how in 1959 the people defeated the US-backed dictator by relying on their own forces. He observes that the British and Yugoslavian governments armed Batista to the last moment.
Gott possibly devotes too little attention to the Cuban people's successes in developing their country. He notes, without exploring, Cuba's remarkable achievements in health and education and he fails to mention its pioneering pharmaceutical industry.
But he gives due prominence to Cuba's internationalism, particularly to its selfless military support to the Angolan people in 1988. Nelson Mandela later visited Havana to thank Fidel personally for Cuba's assistance in the struggle against apartheid. He said, "The decisive defeat of the racist army in Cuito Cuanavale was a victory for all Africa ... It made it possible for Angola to enjoy peace and establish its own sovereignty ... and for the people of Namibia to achieve their independence. The decisive defeat of the aggressive apartheid forces destroyed the myth of the invincibility of the white oppressor. The defeat of the apartheid army served as an inspiration to the struggling people of South Africa."
Cuba has a proud record of upholding workers' nationalism and of practical internationalism. Whatever foreign observers hope or fear, the Cuban people will never surrender their national independence and sovereignty.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Editing and analysis needed, 13 Aug 2013
This review is from: Cuba: A New History (Yale Nota Bene) (Paperback)
This book is in desperate need of both decent editing and greater detail when it counts. It also fails to give any critical analysis and was a turgid list of facts which was dull to read and did not give me the detail of the critical events I was hoping for. The book is heavy on information but short in analysis or providing interesting detail or detail that really relates to critical events. The book includes information of minor figures in the history of Cuba which added nothing to our understanding of the politics of Cuba. But when it came to dealing with Castro's rise to power and his overthrow of the Batista regime I found myself feeling absolutely robbed by the flimsy detail dealt within a very few pages and the complete absence of detail or analysis as to how and why Batista's overthrow was achieved. One minute Batista had 10,000 men against Fidel, Che and Raul in the hills of Cuba with only 270 men and the next moment Batista escapes from Cuba and Fidel takes power. The book was a great disappointment and I find that I am still in search of a decent history of Cuba. In addition, it would really benefit from clear and distinct chapters, with a decent cast list of the main individuals who shaped Cuba with dates when they were of significance and the names of the different parties. For example, the book fails to give appropriate wait to Jose Marti (who in the book appears to be of no greater importance than a host of other Cuban politicians) when in fact he is generally regarded as hugely significant within Cuban history. It is only when one does more reading and visits Cuba you realise his importance to Cuba generally and to Fidel Castro in particular. However you would not have appreciated this from this book. I read it because there is not a lot on the market outside Cuba that gives a complete history. However, overall not worth wading through this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent summary of the history, 31 May 2011
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This review is from: Cuba: A New History (Yale Nota Bene) (Paperback)
I didn't read the first 100 pages as I'm really only interested in the Castro history, but I found this book very well researched, informative and well written. It is a very comprehensive review of the politics and international relations (especially with USA), but it did not go into a great amount of detail on the actual events, such as Che's train ambush or the Bay of Pigs battles. One reveiwer complained about the font size, but this has not been a problem as I wear glasses for reading anyway.

I also purchsed the Cuba Reader, but found this to be interesting to pick up and read bits of, but not really readable as a whole book, as the gaps between the various articles were too obvious. It gives varied viewpoints though, so could be useful as a research tool, but 'Cuba: A New History' is much better to get your teeth into.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good reference and readable, 20 Oct 2010
This review is from: Cuba: A New History (Yale Nota Bene) (Paperback)
I read this book after being fascinated by Cuban history and politics during a holiday there. The book has great attention to detail and is very readable. I actually read it from cover-to-cover even though generally I am not a reader of non-fiction.

The underlying idea is that Cuba's past, including long periods of repressive colonialism and violence, needs to be understood in order to appreciate the island's more recent history. Also it provides a great insight into the adaptability and survival instincts of the revolutionary government, including some underlying pragmatism that you do not appreciate from mainstream news sources.

It's a historical, factual book and yet has an engaging journalistic style. I am hoping for a new edition soon.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars cuba, 11 April 2009
By 
G. I. Forbes (edinburgh) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Cuba: A New History (Hardcover)
This excellent book must be considered as a definative history of Cuba.It covers the period 1511-2003 but does not include the reapproachment between Cuba and Americawhich appears to be happening.
Following an introduction on the history and makeup of the Cuban people thhere care 8 chronological chapters as follows:
1511-1740 insecure settlements
1741-1868 theSpanish empire under challenge
1868-1902 wars of independence and occupation
1902-1952 the Cuban republic
1953-1961 Castros revolution
1961-1968 the revolution in power
1968-1985 inside the Soviet camp
1985-2003 Cuba stands alone
Each chapter is very well written and researched covering every aspect of importance during the relavent period.Thankfully the author takes no political stance and maintains complete objectivity.
There are good sections on notes and further reading.
My only criticism is the lack of photographs,8 pages with 18 illustrations
are provided but the book could have benefited with many more.
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1.0 out of 5 stars NO STARS / Terrible, 13 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Cuba: A New History (Yale Nota Bene) (Paperback)
This copy arrived and i expected Very Good condition as described. In reality the copy was COVERED with underlinings throughout. I have reported this with Photographs but have heard nothing back from supplier.
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Cuba: A New History (Yale Nota Bene)
Cuba: A New History (Yale Nota Bene) by Richard Gott (Paperback - 11 Nov 2005)
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