Travelers' Tales of Old Cuba

From Treasure Island to Mafia den

Edited by John Jenkins

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An evocative and highly entertaining selection of travel writing on pre-revolutionary Cuba
Few places are as fascinating as Cuba, which has drawn travelers ever since it was “discovered” by Columbus in 1492. Magnificently evoking the romance and drama as well as darker episodes of slavery and tyranny, this selection of journal entries, essays and guidebook commentaries begins in the days when Havana sheltered Caribbean pirate treasure ships and was the gateway to the Spanish empire in the New World.

Later chapters reflect the “American era” when the island was transformed into a glittering tourist and gambler’s paradise operated by the Mafia.

Good travelers’ stories should not only inform the reader but also fire the imagination. These tales are full of the flavor and manners of a bygone era, reflecting the various impressions of visitors to one of the most alluring islands on earth.

John Jenkins
is an award-winning Australian poet and travel writer. The author several books of poetry, two books on contemporary music, a libretto and many other publications, John won the prestigious international James Joyce Foundation Suspended Sentence Award in 2004.

Creating both a literary project and an historical mini-course on the early nineteenth to middle twentieth century, the editor has gathered writings mostly by Americans in Cuba who tended to have a complex ‘love/hate relationship’ with the place… In the end, most reveal their fondness for Cuba…

—"Foreword" magazine

This collection presents a good and rather colorful early picture of a country that Columbus recorded in his journal as being ‘the most beautiful island that eyes ever beheld.’ Furthermore, these travelers’ tales are an entertaining collection of stories for both readers who know Cuba well and those of us who are less familiar with this fascinating country.

—British Bulletin on Latin America

194 pages | ISBN 978-0-980429-21-3