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Cuba before Castro
A Century of Family Memoirs
- Although much has been written about Cuba after Castro, relatively little has been written about Cuba before Castro. The political reality of Castro's Revolution has created a historical void about this period, paying insufficient attention to an important century before 1959. Cuba has become a political punching bag, between supporters and critics of Castro and the Revolution, making it difficult to understand real life in Cuba because of the disproportionate preoccupation with, and monopoly of, the political reality on the island. In spite of some attempts, it continues to be easier and perceived as more pressing, to write about politics rather than the reality that Cubans experienced in their daily lives- their sufferings and celebrations, successes and failures, lives and deaths, and beliefs and disbeliefs. Going for and against the avalanche of information about the political authenticity in and out of Cuba, most Cubans have tended to forget that Cuba is much larger than the perceived reality after Castro's Revolution. Too many have failed to remember the Cubans who have lived and worked in Cuba in the century before an important period of Cuban history where the nation was forged. Indeed, even limited attention reveals a rich and sophisticated society that calls for study. In this book Jorge J.E. Gracia approaches this situation by telling true stories about some members of his family (Doctor Ignacio Gracia, Maruca Otero, the Marques de Arguelles, and many others) who lived during a culturally rich century before Castro. He hopes to entice historians, academics, tourists and others, to pursue a balanced exploration of the island by telling part of their stories. This enterprise is neither history nor fiction, but memories written by a Cuban who left Cuba when he was eighteen years old and has become a distinguished philosopher in the United States.
- Preface 1. Names and Identity. What's in a Name? 2. "Je Suis Francaise!" 3. Escaping Mexican Wrath 4. The Jesuits Stole My Inheritance 5. Poetry, Spirits, and Flair 6. Treasure Trove for Christmas 7. Promising Future Comes to Naught 8. Una Senora Muy Asenorada 9. Unexpected Success 10. The Storyteller 11. Bedroom Suite for a Pompadour 12. "!Espana Es Nuestra Madre Patria!" 13. Better Marry Than Burn 14. The Marquis' Mistress 15. Ruined by a Hurricane and Resentment Against Spaniards 16. Tears from a "Bileless Dove" 17. Murdered by the Guardia Civil 18. La Dolorosa's Miracle 19. Promising Beginning and Sad End 20. Is Having to Work Punishment for Sin? 21. Broken Promise 22. A Twenty-Five Year Engagement 23. Romance on a Scale 24. "Te Voy a Capar" 25. A Gentleman Farmer at Heart 26. Running Away from Home 27. A Boy's Best Friends 28. A Bad Dream Comes True 29. Rebel with a Cause 30. A Philosophy of Underwear 31. End of Paradise 32. The Bully 33. First Holy Communion 34. Summers at the Beach 35. Yearly Audit and Crocodile Tears 36. Lean Years 37. Written in the Stars 38. A Night to Forget 39. The Refuge of Faith 40. The Consolation of Giving 41. An Interim Abode 42. Long Journey Into Darkness 43. Bicycles Are For Boys 44. Nena's Insistent Gay Suitor 45. Looking for Domestic Help 46. Maria "Picadillo" 47. "!Yo soy muy macho!" 48. Teenager in Havana 49. The Club 50. Another Call 51. The Cursed Plantation 52. Sugar and Slavery 53. "El Maranon Aprieta la Boca" 54. "I Believe in God" 55. Building Up the Spirit 56. First Cracks of the Faith 57. Brother Balloon 58. "?Y Tu Abuela, Donde Esta?" 59. "Mens Sana in Corpore Sano" 60. "De Eso No Se Habla" 61. Two Years of Terror 62. A Beach House at Last 63. Love and Prejudice 64. Quest for Freedom 65. School for Toy Soldiers 66. A Teacher Who Could Not Teach 67. "I've Got Wheels!" 68. Playground of the Caribbean 69. Chaperones 70. Puppy Love 71. Graduation and a Prom of Sorts 72. Starved for Culture 73. Recreating the Garden of Eden 74. From Hope to Despair 75. The University of Havana 76. Alea Iacta Est 77. The Bay of Pigs and a Police State Acknowledgments About the Author
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