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Havana Nocturne: How the Mob Owned Cuba...and Then Lost It to the Revolution

Havana Nocturne: How the Mob Owned Cuba...and Then Lost It to the Revolution

Written by T. J. English

Narrated by Mel Foster


Havana Nocturne: How the Mob Owned Cuba...and Then Lost It to the Revolution

Written by T. J. English

Narrated by Mel Foster

ratings:
4.5/5 (17 ratings)
Length:
13 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Aug 11, 2008
ISBN:
9781400177691
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Description

In Havana Nocturne, T. J. English offers a riveting, multifaceted true tale of organized crime, political corruption, roaring nightlife, revolution, and international conflict that interweaves the dual stories of the mob in Havana and the event that would overshadow it: the Cuban Revolution.



Bringing together long-buried historical information and 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 Meyer Lansky and Charles "Lucky" Luciano. Thanks to strong ties with the island's brutal dictator, President Batista, the mob soon owned the biggest luxury hotels and casinos and launched an unprecedented tourist boom. But their dreams collided with those of Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, and others who would lead the country's disenfranchised to overthrow their corrupt government and its foreign partners-an epic cultural battle that English captures in all its sexy, decadent, ugly glory.
Publisher:
Released:
Aug 11, 2008
ISBN:
9781400177691
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook


About the author

As a journalist and nonfiction author, Thomas Joseph “T. J.” English (b. 1957) is one of America’s foremost authorities on the recent history of crime. Born in Tacoma, Washington, he moved to New York in 1981, where he spent his nights driving a taxi and his days writing for Irish America magazine, producing a series of articles that would lead to his first book, The Westies (1990), an account of the last decades of a once-powerful Irish mob. Since then English has written about Vietnamese gangs, mafia infiltration of pre-Castro Cuba, and, in Savage City (2011), the history of racial tension between New York City’s police and its citizens. He has written magazine articles on modern crime for Playboy, Esquire, and New York magazine, and has also written for the screen, producing episodes for the gritty cop shows NYPD Blue and Homicide: Life on the Street. He lives in New York City.

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Reviews

What people think about Havana Nocturne

4.4
17 ratings / 12 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (5/5)
    Probably the best, most impartial book written on the subject of the Cuban Revolution.
  • (5/5)
    A very enjoyable audiobook detailing the rise of Castro any Cuba in the 1950s and the fall of Batista with a great deal of emphasis on the mafia influences owning the seven arete big casinos on the island going back to the days of lucky Luciano and many of the Fam New York mobster is including Meyer Lansky very well written book and enjoyable read
  • (4/5)
    An interesting and well-focused book that gave me a better appreciation for the related historical aspects (JFK, 50's and 60's politics and the ongoing blockade) as well as it suggested areas for further historical investigation that have been neglected so far in my studies (mainly Cuban history between the Spanish American war and the revolution).
  • (3/5)
    Readable and enjoyable.
  • (3/5)
    Sinatra. Luciano. Castro. Siegel. Lansky. Che.

    Cuba was a second home for the American Mafia. They ruled through their casinos and hotels in Havana, and their revels and greed brought the old corrupt government to a rapid decline. Every name is here, whether it's Frank Sinatra meeting with Lucky Luciano or Meyer Lansky running the island in the name of the almighty dollar. John F. Kennedy also appears, as a young Senator who found the delights of Cuban nightlife very much to his satisfaction.

    The author has done his research here, and it's a nice read.

    Book Season = Autumn (the off-season for the island)
  • (5/5)


    This is an excellent book. The history of how the Mob worked to build Havana into Las Vegas was impressive. The interactions with the mob, US govt and how Castro brought it all down. I always was interested in knowing all the behind the scenes. This book was well worth the read!
  • (5/5)
    great history,great read
  • (5/5)
    A well-researched and deftly written history of how organized crime got a foothold in Havana but was ousted by the revolution that brought Fidel Castro to power. Meyer Lansky, Santo Trafficante and other American mobsters subverted the Cuban government with sex, celebrities, and money - plenty of money. As T. J. English puts it: "The dream was that Havana would be a party that never ended. Instead, it turned out to be one of the great hangovers of all time."
  • (4/5)
    A great listen--the audiobook narrator sounds kinda mafioso. Learned a lot about American organized crime history, Caribbean history, Castro, Cuban politics, the 1950s tourism and entertainment worlds, and even JFK (Havana orgy and conspiracy theories)--all through the lens of the American mobsters and the Havana casinos they owned. Followed it up by watching Sydney Pollack's "Havana" w/Robert Redford about the week leading up to Castro & the revolution's arrival in Havana on New Year's 1958/1959...movie can be tedious but seems to get the details and vibe right.
  • (4/5)
    Having been born in 1973 and grown up in Australia, I’ve never really known that much about Cuba. From film and television I knew that smoking Cuban cigars was naughty because the U.S. had a trade embargo with them and any country that wanted to be friends with the U.S. respected that. From the same sources, I knew that there were many Cubans in Florida and that the media reported them to be mostly rabidly anti-Castro. I knew that people routinely risked the seas to escape from Cuba in a similar way that my best friend in high school had escaped from Communist Poland. But at the same time I was vaguely aware that perhaps once Castro had been a man of more democratic principles, loved by the Cubans before they came to fear that they may disappear at night never to be heard from again. After all, activists both trendy and genuine wore T-shirts with Castro’s once-partner’s face on it and Streisand listed Guevara as one of her father figures in the live version of “Poppa can you hear me” alongside Gandhi. The implication was that, as in so many places around the world, the U.S. had had some role to play in the making of their monster to the South.The focus of Havana Nocturne is the mob in Cuba and their attempt to create their ultimate haven, within easy reach of everything that was good in America and without any thought for the Cuban people living in fear and poverty outside their Casino walls. T. J. English expertly, and necessarily, weaves the stories of the mob and the revolution together to create a thoroughly engrossing read that connects the dots so deliberately left unconnected for so many years. He leaves aside the demonization of any one of his true characters and, without pulling any punches, shows us flawed human beings and gives us greed, revenge and human failing as the ultimate culprits in the mess that is Cuba.I’ll feel a lot more educated about the whole issue now as the U.S. begins to deal with a post-Castro Cuba. Whether this tiny country can recover from their decades of corruption, trade sanctions and U.S. meddling will be a test with international relevance.
  • (4/5)
    Very interesting read - it gives a thorough history of the mob involvement on the island, and how that affected the revolution. It stays away from the titillating and focuses on Meyer Lansky, almost as an anti-hero.
  • (2/5)
    The author would have readers believe that Cuba's heyday as the playround of the East Coast is inextricably tied with the rise of Fidel Castro. It just ain't so. The mob casinos run by Meyer Lansky and Lucky Luciano just happend to be in play when Castro sets out to take down the government of dictator Batista. There is lots of information about the casinos the mob owned, and who ran them and how much money they made, but not much else. If you've always been dying to know more about Meyer Lansky, then this is the book for you. For all else, it's a skip.