Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Bedside reading

There’s something that should be cleared up about the case of Walter Myers and Gwendolyn Steingraber Myers, the Washington couple who admitted to serving as spies for Cuba when they pleaded guilty to espionage and other charges last week. (Washington Post coverage here.)

The “factual proffers” presented in court give details of their 30-year spy careers (his here and hers here, pdf), and includes the fact that they had in their apartment “a sailing guide for Cuban waters, a travel guide for Cuba, and books entitled The Spy’s Bedside Book and On Becoming Cuban.

That could give the impression that On Becoming Cuban is some kind of how-to identity conversion manual.

In fact it is a great, richly illustrated work by University of North Carolina historian Louis Perez about the formation of Cuban national identity and how it was affected by Cuba’s “encounter with the North” from the mid-19th century until the 1950’s – American tourists, missionaries, technology, movies, consumer culture, baseball, political meddlers, everything.

Say what you will about this pair, they knew how to pick a good history book.


Anonymous said...

Louis Perez is a remarkable author on cuba

his best book, IMHO, is Cuba In the American Imagination. If anyone wants to understand the true nature of Cuba-America historical relations, this is the book to read. It has incredible resonance in understanding what is happening today. Any Cuban 'expert' who hasn't read this, is no expert at all.

leftside said...

That could give the impression that On Becoming Cuban is some kind of how-to identity conversion manual.

Funny, that is pretty much what my wife assumes that book (sitting on my shelf) is about. She kids me about it... wishing I was Cuban.

Mambi_Watch said...

Ditto on Perez Jr.s new book, "Cuba in the American Imagination."

There's an excellent summary of the book provided Rorotoko.com, and Goggle Books has some excerpts.

His other book "On Becoming Cuban" is another essential.

Anonymous said...

Leftside, you will never be Cuban. You're an American communist to the bone. You've no culture save for your wife's ethnicity. You're like Mr. Peters, who's blog popularity has waned considerably since Vecino's absence. But you can always dream, Leftside. "Isn't it a damn beautiful thing to think so?" said Jake Barnes to Lady Ashley.

Luis P.

leftside said...

Leftside, you will never be Cuban.

Darnit! At leat I can dream...

Anonymous said...


Leftside is a gogmatic come mierda. Please don't pay attention to his ... I do agree with you on this, but Peters is maintaining a blog that it is very, very good. You might not agree with his ideas but he is doing an excellent job to keep us informed. What do you do for Cuba? Do you know all the work that goes into it?

Peters ALSO presents other points of views like the ones from the Babalu blog, which I don't respect because they are "extrema derecha" ¿me entiendes?Try to post a comment there. It is just as bad as El Granma.

Finally, Louis A. Pérez is an excellent scholar and all of his books are magníficos and very well researched.



Anonymous said...

Fuck Phil Peters