Cuba's Island of Dreams: Voices from the Isle of Pines and Youth

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9780813017419: Cuba's Island of Dreams: Voices from the Isle of Pines and Youth
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The history of a small island just off Cuba's southern coast, from the start of the 20th century - when American settlers and speculators moved to what was then the Isle of Pines - to the start of the 21st century - as the idealistic Cuban youth, after whom it was renamed, start retiring.

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"The voices we hear in these pages offer a compelling account of the realities of life in the 20th century in one part of Cuba. We encounter the famous and the infamous in this history, yet McManus grants center stage to uncovering and interpreting the ordinary and extraordinary events that defined local life and its meanings over time."—Sheryl Lutjens, Northern Arizona University

In the only English-language book devoted to Cuba’s Isle of Youth, Jane McManus writes the history of the small island just off Cuba’s southern coast from the turn of the 20th century—when American settlers and speculators moved to what was then the Isle of Pines—to the turn of the 21st—as the idealistic Cuban youth for whom it was renamed are retiring.
Employing oral histories to flesh out the economic, political, and cultural facts of this Caribbean frontier, McManus interviewed residents from all periods of the island’s immigration and development: American settlement during the first quarter of the century; Japanese, Jamaican, and Cayman Island immigration during the second quarter; and its radical transformation, after 1960, by the presence of thousands of young Cubans from the main island who became its permanent residents and were joined, temporarily, by students from Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Her interviews describe life on the island as remembered by both immigrants and natives--from pirates, soldiers, and planters to housekeepers, fishermen, and students--and include testimony from the last American on the island.
As a resident of Cuba, McManus enjoyed extraordinary access to Cuban archives and to both published and unpublished historical materials. Her documentary sources are augmented by access to government officials as well as family narratives and personal diaries. Drawing upon resources unavailable to most scholars outside Cuba, she has written an evocative history that captures the dreams of this island’s history and the identity of its people.
Jane McManus, an American journalist, editor, and translator, has lived in Cuba for 30 years. She is the author of Getting To Know Cuba (1989) and a contributor to Insight Guides: Cuba (1995).

From Library Journal:

Just off the Southeast coast of Cuba lies the Isle of Pines, an idyllic island where few of Cuba's Socialist nightmares exist among the population of some 85,000 native Cubans and immigrants from Japan, Angola, and the nearby Cayman Islands. Using narrative accounts from numerous Pineros and drawing on her own 30 years living in Cuba, American journalist McManus relates the early history of the island-its beginnings under American influence, the era of Cuban rule, and, more recently, the Socialist period. Home to a model prison, the Isle of Pines once housed many political prisoners, including Fidel Castro (1953-55). McManus (Getting to Know Cuba: A Travel Guide) blends interviews and diaries into a readable and entertaining account of this unique island. Renamed the Isle of Youth in 1978, following the widely acclaimed educational youth camps relocated to the island under Castro's regime, the island now counts grapefruit and tourism, especially scuba diving, among its leading industries. Recommended for academic libraries and public libraries with a focus on the Caribbean region. -Boyd Childress, Auburn Univ. Lib., AL
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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