The Havana Habit (Hardcover)

By Gustavo Perez-Firmat

Yale University Press, 9780300141320, 245pp.

Publication Date: October 26, 2010

Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (2/21/2012)

List Price: 28.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Cuba, an island 750 miles long, with a population of about 11 million, lies less than 100 miles off the U.S. coast. Yet the island's influences on America's cultural imagination are extensive and deeply ingrained.

In the engaging and wide-ranging Havana Habit, writer and scholar Gustavo Perez Firmat probes the importance of Havana, and of greater Cuba, in the cultural history of the United States. Through books, advertisements, travel guides, films, and music, he demonstrates the influence of the island on almost two centuries of American life. From John Quincy Adams's comparison of Cuba to an apple ready to drop into America's lap, to the latest episodes in the lives of the comic comandantes and exotic exiles, and to such notable Cuban exports as the rumba and the mambo, cigars and mojitos, the Cuba that emerges from these pages is a locale that Cubans and Americans have jointly imagined and inhabited. The Havana Habitdeftly illustrates what makes Cuba, as Perez Firmat writes, so near and yet so foreign.

About the Author

A poet, fiction writer, memoirist, and scholar, Gustavo Perez Firmat is the David Feinson Professor of Humanities at Columbia University."

Praise For The Havana Habit

“A tale of two closely tied cultures, The Havana Habit is told with both élan and humor: the author''s take on the latin lover iconography attached to both Fidel and Che is priceless, and like all of this book, both informative and entertaining.”—Oscar Hijuelos, author of The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love

-Oscar Hijuelos

“A must-read, must-teach text filled with revelations about the dysfunctional love affair that has preoccupied the United States and Cuba over the last century. There''s no other book like it on the Cuban-American condition. Pérez Firmat delivers all you ever wanted to know about Cuba but were too American and polite to ask.”—Virgil Suarez, author of 90 Miles: New and Selected Poems

-Virgil Suarez

"With elegance and dynamism, Pérez Firmat traces the power of stereotypes in America¹s construction of things Cuban. If Havana stands for Cuba, Cuba stands for Latin America, and there is no other Latin American nation that has left a deeper imprint in the American imagination."—Diana Sorensen, Harvard University

-Diana Sorensen

"A brilliant and engagingly written study whose theoretical sharpness and original and meticulous research show Havana to be a veritable, if unlikely, American icon."—Roberto Ignacio Díaz, University of Southern California

-Roberto Ignacio D�az

"A worthy resource in a variety of disciplines."—A. M. Stock, CHOICE
-A. M. Stock