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Before "Cuba Libre"

THE MAKING OF CUBA'S FIRST PRESIDENT, TOMÁS ESTRADA PALMA

A well-researched and authoritative history of a Cuban exile who became president.

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A debut work examines one of the first leaders of Cuba after its independence from Spain.

In this history book, García shares the story of Tomás Estrada Palma, who served as Cuba’s president in the first decade of the 20th century. The volume opens in central New York, where Estrada Palma was living in exile at the time of his election to the presidency, and follows him on his return to his native country before the text diverts into a brief biography in which García does an excellent job of distinguishing the known facts of his life from the many rumors and half-truths that have arisen from the limited information available about his early years. The book also covers Estrada Palma’s involvement in politics and the fight for independence from Spain, leading to his capture as a prisoner of war, and his peripatetic career in Europe and the Americas following his eventual release. The author explains the challenges Cuba’s would-be liberators faced under international law as well as the importance of the lobbying and public relations campaigns Estrada Palma oversaw while living in the United States (“The details of the suffering of the Cuban civilians at the hands of the Spaniards” were publicized “widely by Estrada Palma and the Junta, gaining sympathy to their cause by more and more segments of American public opinion and more and more politicians”). The years after his return to Cuba, including his presidency and resignation, are addressed only briefly in the final chapter; García writes that the book “is limited to his life ‘outside Cuba’ which is least known.” Eliding this period of history, which led to one of several occupations of Cuba by the United States that occurred between the Spanish-American War and the Cuban Revolution, leaves the reader unfamiliar with Cuban history at something of a disadvantage, though it does permit a far more focused narrative than would be possible with greater context. García’s research is evident throughout, with sources thoroughly cited and historical photographs appearing frequently to provide illustration. The author delivers a solid and clearly written summation of one chapter in Cuba’s history, with an emphasis on the long-standing connections to the United States that have shaped the island’s fate.

A well-researched and authoritative history of a Cuban exile who became president.

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4787-7391-7

Page Count: 226

Publisher: Outskirts Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 31, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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NUTCRACKER

This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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TO THE ONE I LOVE THE BEST

EPISODES FROM THE LIFE OF LADY MENDL (ELSIE DE WOLFE)

An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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