Trading with the Enemy: A Yankee Travels Through Castro's Cuba

Tom Miller, Author
Tom Miller, Author Atheneum Books $24 (353p) ISBN 978-0-689-12094-7
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-0-465-08678-8
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According to a joke making the rounds among Cubans during the author's six-month stay in 1990, the three great triumphs of the Cuban revolution are education, health and athletics; the three great failures are breakfast, lunch and dinner. But while the shortages were inescapable, Miller ( The Panama Hat Trail ) was impressed by the highly literate, lively people he met, the good libraries, the health care, the beauty of the landscape and the widespread devotion of the people to Castro, despite Cuba's increasing hardships. Miller's closest relations were with sophisticated intellectuals, but he joined the masses to stand on lines for diminishing goods, to ride the local buses, to tour the country and to listen to the gossip, complaints and jokes as well as the loyal defenses. (He loved the ice cream too.) In late 1991, Miller returned briefly to find his friends girding for the even greater sacrifices imposed by the loss of Russian aid and the continuing U.S. boycott. Although Cuba remains off-limits for most Americans due to the Trading with The Enemy Act referred to in the title, this even-handed and affectionate account of the country and its people makes an entertaining armchair substitute for a visit. (Nov.)
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