Behind the Scenes in Havana
By Marc Frank
University Press of Florida, Hardcover, 9780813044651, 325pp.
Publication Date: October 2013
List Price: $29.95*
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A vivid, engaging exploration of Cuban politics, culture and economic life. "America"
Considerably deeper than much of the work on the subject. It takes on the challenge of describing what's in a black box with energy and candor. VisitCuba.com
The most informative, accurate, insightful, detailed account available on twenty-first century Cuba. HavanaTimes.org
Marc Frank is the best foreign journalist reporting from Cuba today. We now have a behind-the-scenes look at the changes large and small taking place as the Cuban revolution molts from Fidel to Raul to the next generation. Julia Sweig, author of "Cuba: What Everyone Needs to Know"
A must-read book to grasp what has been happening in Cuba over the past ten years. Wayne Smith, director of the Cuba Project, Center for International Policy
Frank enriches his fascinating reportage with his unparalleled access to expressive Cubans from all walks of life. Richard Feinberg, University of California, San Diego
With a sharp eye for human detail and a clear understanding of what makes Cuba tick, Frank's narrative bears eloquent, balanced, and always sensitive witness to the troubled trajectory of Cuba from the dark days of the 1990s economic collapse through to the challenging changes under Raul. It genuinely gets inside the otherwise confusing system and society, and is all the more welcome for that. --Antoni Kapcia, coeditor of "The Changing Dynamic of Cuban Civil Society"
Gripping and insightful. It is rare indeed to find reporting as authoritative and well sourced as this about what remains an impenetrable and opaque regime. Michael Reid, author of "Forgotten Continent: The Battle for Latin America's Soul"
As a U.S.-born journalist who has called Havana home for almost a quarter century, Mark Frank has observed in person the best days of the revolution, the fall of the Soviet bloc, the great depression of the 1990s, the stepping aside of Fidel Castro, and the reforms now being devised by his brother. In "Cuban Revelations," Frank offers a first-hand account of daily life in Cuba at the turn of the twenty-first century, the start of a new and dramatic epoch for islanders and the Cuban diaspora.
Examining the effects of U.S. policy toward Cuba, Frank analyzes why Cuba has entered an extraordinary, irreversible period of change and considers what the island's future holds. The enormous social engineering project taking place today under Raul's leadership is fraught with many dangers, and "Cuban Revelations "follows the new leader's efforts to overcome bureaucratic resistance and the fears of a populace that stand in his way.
In addition, Frank offers a colorful chronicle of his travels across the island's many and varied provinces, sharing candid interviews with people from all walks of life. He takes the reader outside the capital to reveal how ordinary Cubans live and what they are thinking and feeling as fifty-year-old social and economic taboos are broken. He shares his honest and unbiased observations on extraordinary positive developments in social matters, like healthcare and education, as well as on the inefficiencies in the Cuban economy.
Ultimately, "Cuban Revelations" is an objective account by a reporter who has lived with the Cubans for many years as their old world falls apart and they set about trying to build a new one.