Picking up this book on recommendation alone, I didn't know what to expect. I am a girl, I am not a boxing fan and I know nothing about Cuba. I read it in two sittings. The narrative is riveting, the writing witty and relaxed, yet the author never loses sight of the seriousness of the Cuban situation and the difficulties these world-class boxers have had to endure. It is inspiring to read first hand accounts from fighters who have remarkably warm memories of their lives and careers, irrespective of having been deprived of the wealth and fame that goes hand-in-hand with the Tysons, Holyfields and Naseems we are more accustomed to. Embarking on a project to set up a contest between the professional heavyweight champion of the world and his amateur equivalent was an inspired and fantastic idea. John Duncan had the audacity and drive to do just that. His book is a testament to the spirit of Cuba and the fighters who fought just as hard outside the ring as in.
I have read many books on the sport. This book is by far one of the most enjoyable books I've ever read. A rare look into the world of Cuban boxing and it's heros. Mr. Duncan has written the book in such a way that you feel that you,the reader,are part of the adventure. It is a history lesson. But most of all it is fun to read;open,sad,funny,never boring. Mr.Duncan pulled no punches here! Anyone who loves boxing, or just a GREAT book should read this one. Thanks Mr.Duncan. Viva Cuba,Viva John Duncan!
This is a story about a bloke who has had enough of the normal day to day monotony of his work, and actually does something about it. The author goes to Cuba to try to organise a professional fight. The book details the authors acclimatisation to Cuban life, Cuban sport, and boxing in general. The sections on boxing are not technical and very enjoyable. Mostly, the book is an introduction to Cuban life, and is very funny in parts. I would recommend this book to anyone, and will look out for any future projects by the author.
There's a lot more to this than just boxing. It's a funny story about Cuba and Cubans, and, quite rare this, a book that isn't trying to make a political point. I'd recommend it as a book to read on the way to Cuba as I did, a good light introduction to the place and the people and more insightful than most of the guidebooks. I bought it because of a review in Time Out that said it was 'excellent'. I wouldn't disagree.
I bought this as a gift for my partner and so having not read it can only pass on his account of the book. Any fan of boxing will enjoy this read, it gives you a detailed look into the culture of Cuban sport and has been enjoyed by a pool in Varadero - Cuba itself !!!