Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Havana Nocturne

I finished reading Havana Nocturne. Sharon and I saw the author on the Jon Stewart show several months ago. Although Stewart's author interviews are often a train wreck, I was impressed enough with the discussion of this book that I ordered it.

The book focuses on mob's development from 1946 to 1959 of Havana, Cuba into a mecca of hotels, casinos and nightclubs. Cuban political, economic and social events during this period provide an important backdrop for the story. Although Frank Sinatra, John F. Kennedy and Ernst Hemingway make cameo appearances in the book, the central characters are the leading Mafia figures of the day. The lives of almost two dozen gangsters including Meyer Lansky, Charles "Lucky" Luciano and Santo Trafficante are covered in varying levels of detail.

From my perspective, the most compelling individual story was Fidel Castro. His story was much more interesting to me than the life stories of the Mafia bosses. Castro played a key role in overthrowing the Batista government and running the Mafia out of Cuba. I am going to add Castro to the list of people I would like to read more about; the list currently includes JFK and J. Edgar Hoover.

The book is a good, but not great read. I was just not that interested in the back stories of all the mobsters...

No comments:

Post a Comment