The Cubans is a revelatory account of life in one of the most restrictive, isolated and misunderstood places in the world.
In this pioneering work of life-writing and reportage, Anthony DePalma reconstructs the interwoven stories of five ordinary citizens and their families to bring the true story of the Cuban people the world.
Through their extraordinary journeys, from Castro's heyday, through the devastation of post-Soviet collapse, to the false dawn of recent years, we witness the drama and hardships of life across six decades of socialist state control - where even today the government decides what work you can do and where you live; where food is rationed, basic medicines are unavailable, buildings collapse and rubbish goes uncollected; where millions break the law every day simply to get by.
Many celebrate Cuba, one of the world's five remaining communist countries, for bravely holding out against the rampant capitalism of the West. The Cubans lays bare the more complex reality, showing how the revolution that once inspired its people has since tested their faith with tragedy and disillusionment, and revealing the daily acts of heroism and the endlessly adaptive resilience that are required of them to survive.
Think of this as an anti-Fidel corrective to the scores of volumes fixated on the ruler-for-life-force-of-nature-movie-star dictator * Washington Post Sunday * Remarkably revealing ... [DePalma] renders a Cuba few tourists will ever see ... You won't forget these people soon, and you are bound to emerge from DePalma's bighearted account with a deeper understanding of a storied island * The New York Times * A moving and rich account ... DePalma's book is overflowing with warmth and humanity - much like the Cuban people * The Times * An immersive and compelling read ... DePalma wanted to 'reach beyond the myths, to show the real Cuba and the real Cubans who live there' ... In this, he has succeeded brilliantly * Literary Review * Vibrant and hugely enjoyable ... DePalma is a terrific reporter, with a novelist's eye for detail. He uses the extraordinary trust he has gained from his subjects to paint a vivid, deeply sympathetic picture of Cuban life, and the quiet fortitude of its people * Telegraph *