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The author is self-described as a family man engaged in the business of in electronic devices in gambling casinos to enforce the honesty of sticky-fingered croupiers. In fulfilling a contract in post-revolutionary Havana, he was arrested and framed while delivering a message to a Cuban family from a stateside friend but a stranger to Martino: There follows the 40 month nightmare of mock trials, nquestionably brutal prison life and a prison-based view of Castro-Russian politics. It is too much to expect literary quality in a prison recollection. However, since this book was written as-told-to, it is reasonable to require a degree of journalis efficiency and organization that is totally lacking here. After wondering at length why all this could happen to an innocent bystander, it comes as a shock at the end of the book to be told that Martino's wife has friends high in the regime of another Latin American country. This information added to Martino's occupation with electronic Peeping Tommery rather reduces the image of a simple, non-involved business man. All the prisoner rumors get a lengthy airing -- homosexuality in high places, drug addiction from bottom to top and much ""inside"" information that can only be traced to dead men or unnamed sources. The report of the American embassy's inept and craven handling of the Martino case is more unnerving than the horrors of the midnight firing squads. Perhaps this book, with all its faults, will stir someone in government to air, answer and document the charges listed here. Nevertheless, the book remains a disorganized effort that lurches into propaganda while complaining of other propaganda disseminated by correspondents close to Castro in his early days.

Pub Date: June 14th, 1963
Publisher: Devin-Adair