Havana Nocturne: How the Mob Owned Cuba…and Then Lost It to the Revolution

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Harper Collins, Oct 13, 2009 - True Crime - 432 pages
13 Reviews
In modern-day Havana, the remnants of the glamorous past are everywhere—old hotel-casinos, vintage American cars & flickering neon signs speak of a bygone era that is widely familiar & often romanticized, but little understood. In Havana Nocturne, T.J. English offers a multifaceted true tale of organized crime, political corruption, roaring nightlife, revolution & international conflict that interweaves the dual stories of the Mob in Havana & the event that would overshadow it, the Cuban Revolution.

As the Cuban people labored under a violently repressive regime throughout the 50s, Mob leaders Meyer Lansky & Charles "Lucky" Luciano turned their eye to Havana. To them, Cuba was the ultimate dream, the greatest hope for the future of the US Mob in the post-Prohibition years of intensified government crackdowns. But when it came time to make their move, it was Lansky, the brilliant Jewish mobster, who reigned supreme. Having cultivated strong ties with the Cuban government & in particular the brutal dictator Fulgencio Batista, Lansky brought key mobsters to Havana to put his ambitious business plans in motion. 

Before long, the Mob, with Batista's corrupt government in its pocket, owned the biggest luxury hotels & casinos in Havana, launching an unprecedented tourism boom complete with the most lavish entertainment, the world's biggest celebrities, the most beautiful women & gambling galore. But their dreams collided with those of Fidel Castro, Che Guevara & others who would lead the country's disenfranchised to overthrow their corrupt government & its foreign partners—an epic cultural battle that English captures in all its sexy, decadent, ugly glory. 

Bringing together long-buried historical information with English's own research in Havana—including interviews with the era's key survivors—Havana Nocturne takes readers back to Cuba in the years when it was a veritable devil's playground for mob leaders. English deftly weaves together the parallel stories of the Havana Mob—featuring notorious criminals such as Santo Trafficante Jr & Albert Anastasia—& Castro's 26th of July Movement in a riveting, up-close look at how the Mob nearly attained its biggest dream in Havana—& how Fidel Castro trumped it all with the revolution. 
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - bensdad00 - LibraryThing

An interesting and well-focused book that gave me a better appreciation for the related historical aspects (JFK, 50's and 60's politics and the ongoing blockade) as well as it suggested areas for ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - cbilbo - LibraryThing

This is an excellent book. The history of how the Mob worked to build Havana into Las Vegas was impressive. The interactions with the mob, US govt and how Castro brought it all down. I always was interested in knowing all the behind the scenes. This book was well worth the read! Read full review

Contents

MOBSTER M A M B
3
THE MArvELoUS JEW
51
LA ENGAñAdORA THE dECEIVER
159
TroPICAL vENgEANCE
226
A HANDMADE WoMAN
247
THE SUN ALMoST rISES
268
gET THE MoNEY
289
EPILogUE
321
APPENDIx
335
SoUrCES
369
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About the author (2009)

T. J. English is a noted journalist, a screenwriter, and the author of the New York Times bestsellers Havana Nocturne, Paddy Whacked, and The Savage City, as well as of The Westies, a national bestseller, and Born to Kill, which was nominated for an Edgar Award. He has written for Vanity Fair, Playboy, and Esquire, among other publications. His screenwriting credits include episodes of the television crime dramas NYPD Blue and Homicide, for which he was awarded the Humanitas Prize. He lives in New York City.

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