Cuba: A History


Cuba: A History
Sergio Guerra Vilaboy and Oscar Loyola Vega
2010, Ocean Press
108 pages

SHORT and readable it may be, but perhaps the main selling point of this pithy little history of Cuba is that it is written by Cubans. Sergio Guerra Vilaboy and Oscar Loyola Vega are both historians at the university of Havana and well connected in the field within Latin America. It is an important, if subtle, point, because of the way history has been politicised by the island’s enforced isolation. Cuba: A History takes a long view, beginning with the pre-Hispanic period and ending with Fidel Castro’s decision to step aside in 2008. At times the narrative is two-dimensional, the bibliography is already beginning to look dated, and there are no concessions to the enemies of socialism in this history – but what more can you expect from such a pocket-sized book that is clearly intended to be an introduction to much more complex set of themes? At least, as Alice Walker says on the cover, we should be grateful to discover a place on the planet where there are people whose hearts haven’t been shrivelled by hatred or greed. – GO’T

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