The Cuba Reader

History, Culture, Politics

Book Pages: 744 Illustrations: 105 illustrations Published: May 2019

Caribbean Studies, General Interest > Travel, Latin American Studies

Tracking Cuban history from 1492 to the present, The Cuba Reader includes more than one hundred selections that present myriad perspectives on Cuba's history, culture, and politics. The volume foregrounds the experience of Cubans from all walks of life, including slaves, prostitutes, doctors, activists, and historians. Combining songs, poetry, fiction, journalism, political speeches, and many other types of documents, this revised and updated second edition of The Cuba Reader contains over twenty new selections that explore the changes and continuities in Cuba since Fidel Castro stepped down from power in 2006. For students, travelers, and all those who want to know more about the island nation just ninety miles south of Florida, The Cuba Reader is an invaluable introduction.


"The Cuba Reader: History, Culture, Politics by Aviva Chomsky was really insightful for me. It has all these essays from people who lived in Cuba at different times, including a priest who came with the Spanish, so you get a different perspective on the attacks on native people and their resistance." — Ytasha Womack, Boston Globe

"[An] ambitious and impressive anthology, a sweeping collection of source materials by and about Cubans both on the island and living in other countries. The editors . . . have wisely chosen songs, paintings, photographs, short stories, essays, speeches, government reports, cartoons and newspaper articles that span Cuban history. . . . What The Cuba Reader does extraordinarily well is to reveal the nuances and complexity of the Cuban experience. All shades of politics are here, and they infuse Cuban dance, music, film and religion." — Susan Fernandez, The Miami Herald

"[A] crash course in Cuban history. If you’re looking for a single (hefty) volume to get you up to speed about the past 500 years of Cuban politics and culture, this is it." — Julie Schwietert Collazo, The Guardian

"[A] classic. The editors of this book and their many accomplices deserve nothing but praise for producing the best introduction to Cuba one can possibly find." — Gavin O'Toole, Latin American Review of Books

"[T]he editors should be congratulated for their Herculean effort. The reader will be most useful for undergraduate courses where it will provide students with an impressive overview of the Cuban experience over the last five centuries. In fact, anyone interested in obtaining a comprehensive and multifaceted firsthand account of Cuban history will benefit from this book." — John J. Dwyer, The Americas

"The Cuba Reader is . . . an impressive and worthy addition to the series of similar readers on Peru, Brazil, Argentina and Mexico, published by Duke University Press. . . . An engaging assortment of readings. . . . A rich variety of voices, most of them Cuban, which, when read together reveal a nation and people of complexity and charm, pathos and poignancy, quite unlike the stark categories in which the warring ideologies usually place them. . . . This is a volume that can be read with benefit and enjoyment by student and faculty scholars alike." — Richard R. Super, International Third World Studies Journal and Review

"This Reader provides a wonderfully eclectic selection of writings from and about Cuba. . . . [A] very useful resource for the teaching of courses relating to Cuba, providing a taster of many aspects of the island's history that should encourage those who dip into it to come away with a more nuanced understanding of an island that has been plagued by caricature." — Jonathan Curry-Machado, Journal of Latin American Studies

"For a solid introduction to all things Cuban, start with this edited collection of primary sources, including speeches, articles, songs, poems, book excerpts, and other publications spanning 500 years of Cuban history and culture." — Boyd Childress, Library Journal

"This is a balanced, far-ranging, equitable, and insightful book, and the suggestions for further reading list and comprehensive index add to its usability. Altogether an essential addition to any Latin American studies collection. . . . Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty." — L. K. Miller, Choice

“Cuba is often a mirage, especially for North Americans, who feel they must know something about the place because of its proximity and the outsized influence the island has had on the United States. And yet it often still feels just out of reach. What The Cuba Reader does is provide incisive, intimate insight, not so much a road map as a vision of what has been and what could be. It's indispensable.” — Achy Obejas

“What a beautiful journey through five hundred years of Cuban history, culture, and politics! The Cuba Reader is a sumptuous medley of poetry, song, speeches, interviews, and vignettes from novels new and old. You'll hear the voices of santeros and sugar workers, prostitutes and politicos, revolutionaries and reporters, dissidents and dancers. It's the next best thing to being in Cuba, so sit back with a mojito and enjoy the masterfully guided tour.” — Medea Benjamin, activist and cofounder of Global Exchange

"The Cuba Reader offers a splendid overview of the Cuban experience, past and present, through a dazzling array of points of view. . . . The very fullness of its vision makes The Cuba Reader an indispensable book for courses—of every academic discipline—on Cuba.” — Louis A. Pérez Jr., author of On Becoming Cuban: Identity, Nationality, and Culture


Availability: In stock
Price: $32.95

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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Aviva Chomsky is Professor of History at Salem State University.

Barry Carr is Emeritus Professor of Latin American History at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia.

Alfredo Prieto is an independent researcher and editor.

Pamela Maria Smorkaloff lives and writes in Mexico City.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments  xiii
Introduction  1
I. Indigenous Society and Conquest  7
II. Sugar, Slavery, and Colonialism  37
III. The Struggle for Independence  111
IV. Neocolonialism  141
V. Building a New Society  309
VI. Culture and Revolution  405
VII. The Cuban Revolution and the World  453
VIII. The Período Especial  517
IX. Cuba after Fidel: Continuities and Transitions  577
Suggestions for Further Reading  683
Acknowledgment of Copyrights and Sources  697
Index  709
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-0393-9 / Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4780-0364-9
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