Cuba: What Everyone Needs to Know, by Julia E. Sweig, exploring Cuba's diverse and intricate political past.
Our Man in Havana, by Graham Greene, a sardonic tale of the British intelligence services on the island in the first half of the 20th Century. Made into a movie in 1959, starring Alec Guinness.
Trading with the Enemy: A Yankee Travels Through Castro's Cuba, by Tom Miller. An American's account of 8 months of journeys through the countryside and villages, filled with the voices and stories of the local people.
Dreaming in Cuban, by Cristina Garcia. A story that unfolds through three generations of women from one family, struggling with political and geographical divides.
Bacardi and the Long Fight for Cuba Tom Gjelten. Famous for rum, the Bacardi name is imbedded in the politics and cultural fabric of Cuba and the US.
Cuban Art and National Identity: The Vanguardia Painters, by Juan A. Martinez. Looking at Cuban Modernism from formation to symbols of national identity.
To and From Utopia in the New Cuban Art, Rachel Weiss. Revolution and the renewed idealism in contemporary art.
Strawberry and Chocolate, by Senel Paz (also a film). A gay activist is frustrated with his government's attitude towards gay an lesbian Cubans.
Some of these titles can be found on Amazon.com. You may also find them in a well stocked bookstore, or at the library.
The Lost City. Directed by and starring Andy Garcia. Set in Havana in the late 1950’s.
Havana. Directed by Sydney Pollack and starring Robert Redford. A professional gambler (Redford) visits Havana to organize a big poker game. Set in late 1950’s.
Strawberry and Chocolate (Fresca y Chocolate). A Cuban-Spanish-Mexican co-produced film set in Havana in 1979, about the LGBT fight for rights within Cuba. Featured in the film, the La Guardia paladar has become famous.
Before Night Falls. Starring Javier Bardem and Johnny Depp. The life of Cuban poet and novelist, Reinaldo Arenas, who was imprisoned for dissidence under the Castro administration.
Chico and Rita. An animated feature-length film (in Spanish). The story of love and music of Chico (a musician and composer) and Rita, set against backdrops of Havana, New York city, Las Vegas, Hollywood and Paris in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s.
Habanastation (2011) One story of two very different young boys growing up in the segregated economic society in Cuba.
Viva Cuba (2005) Delving into the impact of emigration on a friendship between two young children.
NPR: Alt-Latino, The Sounds of Cuba Today. A curated playlist of contemporary Cuban music
NPR: Alt-Latin: Cuban Piano 101: A Century Of Historic Grooves. A curates playlist of new and traditional compositions for the piano.
No Passport Required New York Times on Little Havana in Miami
150 Years of Cuban History Presented by VOX
36 Hours in Havana New York Times
When Revolution Came to the Kitchens of Cuba The Atlantic on TV's Cuban cook Nitza Villapol
Seeking Gold in Cuba Soil New York Times on Sustainable farming
If you find other books or articles as you prepare for your trip that you would recommend, please let us know!
Happy reading, viewing and listening!