Havana: Autobiography of a City

Alfredo José Estrada

Palgrave Macmillan Trade

Download Image Alfredo José Estrada Havana: Autobiography of a City

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Alfredo José Estrada's intimate ties to Havana form the basis for this "autobiography," written as though from the city's own heart. Covering the island's five hundred year history, Estrada portrays the adventurers and dreamers who left their mark on Havana, including José Martí, martyr for Cuban independence; and Ernest Hemingway, the most American of writers who became an unabashed Habanero.
Deeply personal and affecting, Havana is the accessible and complete story of the city for the history buff and armchair traveler alike.

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Praise for Havana: Autobiography of a City

Havana was chosen by J.P. Morgan as one of their "Summer Must-Reads" for 2008.
"A pleasure for the armchair traveler and old Cuba hands alike."--Kirkus Review
"As much a tale of tobacco, sugar, and slaves, this delightful account leaves no stone unturned and reveals fascinating historical insights.  Estrada's chapters on Ernest Hemingway in Havana and social life during the casino/mobster era are pure gems.  He spares neither expansionist U.S. policies nor Fidel Castro's socialism from blame for Cuba's present state.  Highly recommended."--Library Journal (starred review)


"Estrada is at his best chronicling Castro's revolution, a story which for many Americans is a virtual unknown; Estrada's retelling is brief, fair-minded and very well-written.  Estrada pays particular attention to the Che Guevara 'hardly guessed at by those wearing Che tank tops,' revealing Guevara's authoritarian streak, his talent for guerilla warfare and his direct role in the executions of the day…a fine primer on the United States' closest 'enemy,' told with the love of a native son."--Publishers Weekly


"A captivating travelogue...Visitors to the island should take it along to read during their trip."--The Washington Post


"A readable history, full of rich anecdotes and the nation's…political saga.  And though he wanders from one end of the island to the other, Estrada keeps retuning to Havana, that decayed though still intoxicating city that continues to seduce.  She--always La Habana--is our great love."--Enrique Fernandez, The Miami Herald


"Estrada weaves a gripping narrative that moves seamlessly between the hagiography of these heroes and the Havana of their time. Havana is one part travelogue to two parts history, with the origins of the city's docks, streets and buildings combined with impressions of Havana today (and some of those same streets and buildings)...A wonderful slice of how Cuba remembers itself."--Noam Lupu, The San Francisco Chronicle


"An objective modern history of Cuba is as hard to find in American today as a Cuban cigar, but somehow Alfredo José Estrada has managed to smuggle Havana: Autobiography of a City past customs...(it) brings America's closest enemy close enough that it may begin to look like a friend."--Mark Pettus, Florida Times-Union


"[Havana is] an experience that's more like dining out with a formidably knowledgeable Havana-phile, than it is like perusing a book.  Full of entertaining digressions ranging the grand and sweeping scope of the city's history, Estrada's account of Havana is not without nuggets of wry humor as he takes the measure of its most essential characters and events."--Hispanic Magazine



Reviews from Goodreads


About the Author

Alfredo José Estrada

Alfredo José Estrada was the editor-in-chief of Vista magazine, which is distributed in over thirty newspapers and is the largest publication for U.S. Hispanics in the country. Born in Havana and educated at Harvard, he lives in Austin, Texas. 

Alfredo José Estrada


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Available Formats and Book Details

Havana: Autobiography of a City
Alfredo José Estrada

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
St. Martin's Press
Palgrave Macmillan Trade
March 2008
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9781403975393
ISBN10: 1403975396
6 1/8 x 9 1/4 inches, 288 pages, Includes 19 black-and-white illustrations throughout