I was fortunate to meet and interview several poets in Santiago de Cuba. One was Jesus Cos Causse  and Rene Lescay.

Both of these names are Haitian names. There is a strong Jamaican and Haitian influence in Santiago.

Cuba: A BookList

Compiled by Herbert B. Rogers

General Information Department / Enoch Pratt Free Library /State Library

400 Cathedral Street / Baltimore, MD 21201


Books on Cuba

Barnet, Miguel, ed. The Autobiography of a Slave. New York: Pantheon Books, 1968.

Behar, Ruth. Everything I Kept/Todo lo que guarde. Matanzas: Ediciones Vigia, 2001.

Behar, Ruth. Bridges to Cuba/Puentes a Cuba. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1995.

Brandon, George. Santeria from Africa to the New World: The Dead Sell Memories.  Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1963.

Bunck, Julie. Fidel Castro and the Quest for a Revolutionary Culture in Cuba. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1994.

Carpentier, Alejo. The Kingdom of this World. (translated by Harriet de Onis). New York: Knopf, 1957.

Carpentier, Alejo. The Lost Steps. (translated by Harriet de Onis). New York: Knopf, 1967.

Castillo Bueno, Mario de los Reyes. Reyita: The Life of a Black Cuban Woman in the Twentieth Century. Durham: Duke University Press, 2000.

DeCosta-Willis, Miriam, ed. Singular Like a Bird: The Art of Nancy Morejon. Washington, DC: Howard University Press, 1999.

De la Campa, Roman. Cuba on My Mind: Journeys to a Severed Nation. New York: Verso, 2000.

Fernandez Retamar, Robert. Caliban and Other Essays. Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 1989.

Gonzalez Echevarria, Roberto. The Pride of Havana: A History of Cuban Baseball. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.

Keeble, Alexandra. In the Spirit of Wandering Teachers: Cuban Literacy Campaign. New York/Havana: Ocean Press, 1978.

Kozol, Jonathan. Children of the Revolution: A Yankee Teacher in the Cuban School. New York: Delacorte Press, 1978.

Lindsey, Arturo, ed. Santeria Aesthetics in Contemporary Latin America Art. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1996.

Le Bartolo, Giuseppe. Santiago de Cuba: Teatro en la calle. Havana: Editorial Jose Marti, 1994.

Lockwood, Lee. Castro’s Cuba, Cuba’s Fidel. New York: Vintage Books, 1996.

long, p.w., etal. Cuba is a State of Mind: The Spiritual Traveler. Blue Ocean Press, 2006.

Lorenzetto, Anna and Karel Neys. Methods and Means Utilized in Cuba to Eliminate Illiteracy. Havana: Cuban National Commissions for UNESCO, 1965.

Luis, William. Culture and Customs of Cuba. Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing, 2000.

Marquez, Robert, ed and trans. Patria o Muerte! The Great Zoo and Other Poems by Nicolas Guillen. Havana: Editorial Arte y Literatura, 1973

Marquez, Robert,  and David A. McMurrays, ed and trans. Man-making Words; Selected Poems of Nicholas Guillen. Havana: Editorial Arte y Literatura, 1973.

Murphy, Joseph: Santeria: An African Religion in America. Boston: Beacon, 1988.

Perez Sarduy, Pedro and Jean Stubbs, eds. Afro-Cuban Voices: On Race and Identity on Contemporary Cuba. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2000.

Perez Sarduy, Pedro and Jean Stubbs, eds. Afro-Cuba: An Anthology of Cuban Writing on Race, Politics, and Culture. New York: Ocean Press, 1994.

Rayan, Alan, ed. The Reader’s Companion to Cuba. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1997.

Rosendahl, Mona. Inside the Revolution: Everyday Life in Socialist Cuba. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1997.

Smart, Ian. Nicolas Guillen: Popular Poet of the Caribbean. Columbia, Missouri: University of Missouri Press, 1990.

Thompson, Robert Ferris. Flash of the Spirit: Africa and Afroamerican Art and Philosophy. New York: Vintage Books, 1984.

Vega, Marta Moreno. The Altar of My Soul: The Living Tradition of Santeria. New York: One World, 2000.

Weaver, Kathleen, trans. Where the Island Sleeps like a Wing: Selected Poetry by Nancy Morejon. San Francisco, CA: Black Scholar Press, 1985.

Wolf, Bernard. Cuba: After the Revolution. New York: Dutton, 1999.

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Che’s Afterlife: The Legacy of an Image (2009)

By Michael Casey

Illustrated. 388 pages. Vintage Books. $15.95

Casey, Buenos Aires bureau chief for Dow Jones Newswires, tap dances across history— and the globe to examine intellectual property and iconography through the lens of the famous image of Che Guevara captured by fashion photographer Alberto Korda. Some say that only the famous photograph of Marilyn Monroe, her skirt rising as she stands over a subway grate, has been more reproduced, writes Casey. The author does not neglect the relevant biographical details or history, but his focus is Che as a brand. He wants to understand why the Korda image remains so compelling to such a wide variety of people and how it continues to represent so many different (and differing) causes; he suggests that the power of Che, the brand, is in its ability to be anything to anyone. The book can feel like a disorderly amalgam of travelogue, visual criticism, biography and reportage—fragments befitting a study of globalized culture. Readers interested in the impact of visual culture or in better understanding the elusiveness of intellectual property rights, particularly in a global marketplace, will find much food for thought. Publishers Weekly    Reminiscences of the Cuban Revolutionary War

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Poem: Fireman’s Ball / Guarding the Flame of Life

It Aint My Fault by Mos Def & Lenny Kravitz

Bill Moyers and James Cone (Interview)  / A Conversation with James Cone

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The Brilliant Disaster

JFK, Castro, and America’s Doomed Invasion of Cuba’s Bay of Pigs

By Jim Rasenberger

My telling of the Bay of Pigs thing will certainly not be the first. On the contrary, thousands of pages of official reports, journalism, memoir, and scholarship have been devoted to the invasion, including at least two exceptional books: Haynes Johnson’s emotionally charged account published in 1964 and Peter Wyden’s deeply reported account from 1979. This book owes a debt to both of those, and to many others, as well as to thousands of pages of once-classified documents that have become available over the past fifteen years, thanks in part to the efforts of the National Security Archives, an organization affiliated with George Washington University that seeks to declassify and publish government files. These newer sources, including a CIA inspector general’s report, written shortly after the invasion and hidden away in a vault for decades, and a once-secret CIA history compiled in the 1970s, add depth and clarity to our understanding of the event and of the men who planned it and took part in it. . . .

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The New Jim Crow

Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

By Michele Alexander

Contrary to the rosy picture of race embodied in Barack Obama’s political success and Oprah Winfrey’s financial success, legal scholar Alexander argues vigorously and persuasively that [w]e have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it. Jim Crow and legal racial segregation has been replaced by mass incarceration as a system of social control (More African Americans are under correctional control today… than were enslaved in 1850). Alexander reviews American racial history from the colonies to the Clinton administration, delineating its transformation into the war on drugs. She offers an acute analysis of the effect of this mass incarceration upon former inmates who will be discriminated against, legally, for the rest of their lives, denied employment, housing, education, and public benefits. Most provocatively, she reveals how both the move toward colorblindness and affirmative action may blur our vision of injustice: most Americans know and don’t know the truth about mass incarceration—but her carefully researched, deeply engaging, and thoroughly readable book should change that.—Publishers Weekly

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Debt: The First 5,000 Years

By David Graeber

Before there was money, there was debt. Every economics textbook says the same thing: Money was invented to replace onerous and complicated barter systems—to relieve ancient people from having to haul their goods to market. The problem with this version of history? There’s not a shred of evidence to support it. Here anthropologist David Graeber presents a stunning reversal of conventional wisdom. He shows that for more than 5,000 years, since the beginnings of the first agrarian empires, humans have used elaborate credit systems to buy and sell goods—that is, long before the invention of coins or cash. It is in this era, Graeber argues, that we also first encounter a society divided into debtors and creditors.  Graeber shows that arguments about debt and debt forgiveness have been at the center of political debates from Italy to China, as well as sparking innumerable insurrections. He also brilliantly demonstrates that the language of the ancient works of law and religion (words like “guilt,” “sin,” and “redemption”) derive in large part from ancient debates about debt, and shape even our most basic ideas of right and wrong. We are still fighting these battles today without knowing it. Debt: The First 5,000 Years is a fascinating chronicle of this little known history—as well as how it has defined human history, and what it means for the credit crisis of the present day and the future of our economy.  


Economist Glenn Loury  /Criminalizing a Race

update 8 November 2008