A new book arrived in the mail: Havana Before Castro – When Cuba was a Tropical Playground by Peter Moruzzi, published by Gibbs Smith. (See website here.) It’s beautifully illustrated with hundreds of images – the author’s photos, old advertisements, images dug up from archives. And as the title indicates, it’s about the
But it’s more than a coffee table book about
The author is an architectural historian, and it’s his fascination with
A chapter on the Havana Hilton (now Habana Libre) tells us that the hotel was financed by the pension fund of the Cuban catering workers’ union. A statement from Hilton Hotels International lauded the partnership, “unique in the history of private enterprise,” where “labor and capital have joined hands” so that the “operators of the hotel will, in effect, be working for their employees.”
Another chapter, “Havana Modern,” tries to balance the attention paid to
All in all, a good read, and the photo archive contained in this book’s 250 pages is alone worth the price of admission.