Matanzas: The Cuba Nobody Knows

Bretos, Miguel A.

Published by University Press of Florida, 2010
ISBN 10: 0813034329 / ISBN 13: 9780813034324
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Former Library book. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. Bookseller Inventory # GRP71261528

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Synopsis:

“Bretos has not only conferred on his beloved Matanzas its rightful place in history but he has provided students and fans of Cuban history with a significant launching point into the future.”—Miami Herald

“A marvelously well-researched and engagingly written combination of urban biography and personal autobiography. . . . Erudite and highly instructive, enormously enhanced with outstanding illustrations.”—Choice Matanzas is the Cuban city nearest the United States. Located on the north shore of the island of Cuba, on the Bay of Matanzas, sandwiched between Havana and Varadero, it is a mere ninety miles from Florida. The “Athens of Cuba,” as it was known in the heyday of the nineteenth-century slave-driven, sugar-based boom, Matanzas is renowned for its cultural heritage.It is the birthplace of the traditional romantic danzón—Cuba’s national dance—and the sensual rhythmicguaguancó, a product of the city’s preeminence as a hub of Afro-Cuban culture. Matanzas is the only foreign place in which an American vice president was sworn into office.Matanceros engaged in heavy commercial trading with Boston merchants for decades, exporting sugar and importing hard granite cobblestones to pave the streets. It is the place where Cuban baseball and modern Cuban art began. The city was home to the country’s first building wired for electricity, the first electric street cars, and the first public library,—yet most Americans have never heard of it.Miguel Bretos’s fascinating history of his hometown seeks to remedy that oversight. Bretos arrived in the United States at age eighteen, but his family retains close ties to the city where they lived for generations. From the aboriginal Taínos to the coming of revolution, Bretos unfolds the Matanzas story with solid research, wit, clarity, and the kind of vivid detail that can come only from an insider. Miguel A. Bretos is retired as senior scholar from the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery and is the author of four books, includingCuba and Florida: An Exploration of a Historical Connection, 1593–1991.

Book Description:

A guided tour of the captivating city less than one hundred miles from Florida

 

"A fine document of Cuban culture, a history and memoir of a charming and oft-neglected city, infused with an emigre's love and longing for the lost place."--Dick Cluster, author of History of Havana

 

"A deep analytical and a warm personal approach to the history of Bretos's place of birth. A funny, intelligent, elaborate, and erudite work, this book will certainly graciously stand the passing of time."--Manuel Barcia, author of Seeds of Insurrection

 

Matanzas--the name means literally "slaughters"--is the Cuban city nearest the United States. Known at the heyday of the nineteenth-century sugar boom as the "Athens of Cuba," it is renowned for its art, its music, and its rich African heritage. It is also the place where Latin American baseball began. Yet most Americans have never heard of it.

           

Miguel Bretos's fascinating history of his hometown remedies this oversight. Though he came to the United States as a Pedro Pan child and has lived all over the world, his family is still closely tied to the city where they lived for generations. After forty years he returned to his homeland "with the longing of an exile, the anticipation of a child, the curiosity of a visitor, the resentment of a victim, and--hopefully--the objectivity of a scholar."

           

Bretos unfolds the Matanzas story from the aboriginal Tainos to the coming of revolution with solid research, wit, clarity, and the kind of vivid detail that can come only from an insider. But he also deftly inserts Matanzas into a larger picture. More than local history, this original work is Cuban history from a local perspective.

                                                                                                                   

 

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Matanzas: The Cuba Nobody Knows
Publisher: University Press of Florida
Publication Date: 2010
Book Condition: Good
Edition: 0th Edition.

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Bretos, Miguel A.
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