Cuba: What Everyone Needs to Know

Cuba: What Everyone Needs to Know - Julia E Sweig This book will give you a very good overview of Cuban history and politics. If all you know about the island is that the U.S. has an embargo on it and something about a bearded guy called Fidel, then you really need to read this book. If you think Che Guevara is just some guy on a tee shirt, you need to read this book. Sweig makes this book very accessible to readers by using a nice question and answer format. The book is arranged somewhat chronologically. I say "somewhat" because, on the one hand, the books parts are arranged chronologically: the colonial period, the time before Fidel, the Cold War, the end of the Cold War and Cuba after Fidel. On the other hand, due to the question and answer format, the narrative is not fully linear. You get parts where it says, "see page such and such" to learn more (or to go back to something you have read already). However, that is not a big deal. Sweig does provide some depth within the question and answer format. You do get a look at Cuba that goes past just what you may have heard in Miami if you talk to an exile (or more likely his or her children as time has moved on) or heard from the U.S. government. You learn in the end that the nation of Cuba is a complex and unique nation. You also learn why it is that the revolutionary movement has lasted as much as long as it has, and you learn a bit about what the future holds for the island nation. Oxford, the publisher of this book, has other books in a series of "what you need to know" on other topics. So, after you pick this one up, you may want to pick up others and learn a bit more. I know I will.