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Havana Nocturne: How the Mob Owned Cuba and Then Lost It to the Revolution

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This description may be from another edition of this product. To underworld kingpins Meyer Lansky and Charles "Lucky" Luciano, Cuba was the greatest hope for the future of American organized crime in the post-Prohibition years. In the 1950s, the Mob—with the...

Customer Reviews

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The real Hyman Roth

The story of Meyer Lansky and his plans to make Cuba into a mobsters' dream: "90 miles from the United States with a friendly (i.e., corrupt and venal) government". Sound familiar? Then you've seen "Godfather II" as I have and believe you're familiar with this story. But there is so much more to it, and T. J. English writes with gusto, amusement and at times admiration at how the American mobsters, led by The Little Man, Jewish Meyer Lansky, dared to dream they could rule Havana aided and abetted by the amoral and corrupt dictator Fulgencio Batista. They weren't counting on the Castro brothers and their compatriot, Che Guevera, who had a different vision for Cuba. They became increasingly disgusted at the exploitation of the Cuban people, particularly as sex workers, for the amusement of the gringo tourists. No one gets off easy here, not JFK, not Sinatra, not the Truman and Eisenhower administrations, all of whom were beneficiaries and abettors of the corruption of the Mob. A terrific read and a history lesson which goes down smoothly.

How Notorius Mobster Myer Lansky Misculated Fidel Castro and his cohorts

Between 1952 and 1959 Havana was a city of spectacular growth with incredible casino and hotel development, tourist resorts, new highways and where the allure of organized gambling, fantastic nightclub acts and sexy beautiful women seduced many to invest, particularly the mob, which at the time was much under the influence of the notorious mobster Myer Lansky. It is against this backdrop that T.J. English's Havana Nocturne: How The Mob Owned Cuba...And The Lost It To The Revolution vividly captures the rhythm of a vulgar era when the mob thought they could do no wrong and that their dream of creating a gambling and tourist mecca would never be crushed. It was also a period in Cuba's history that witnessed the combination of Lansky and the dictator Batista assemble a financial universe that would change the course of the country's history. However, just a little digging below the surface would reveal that the wealth that was reaped from these ventures was not evenly spread around and was in the main used to fill the pocketbooks of corrupt politicians, the mob and their followers. The needs of the ordinary man on the street were never met and this ultimately was the recipe that proved to be the catalyst for revolution and, as we all know, Fidel Castro was able to cleverly capitalize on this discontent. The inspiration to create this decadent world was initiated with a December 1946 Mob conference in Havana attended by some two dozen of the most well known underworld bosses including Luciano, Trafficante, the Cellini brothers, and Vito Genovese, who would play a vital role in the development of Havana as a corrupt playground for those who could afford it over the next several years. The brains behind the meeting was, without doubt, Lansky who believed that there was enough for everyone and his idea was to coalesce as a behind-the-scenes force in Cuban affairs thus enabling the mob to carry on without intervention or intimidation. The result eventually led to Lansky becoming Batista`s gambling czar and he succeeded in overlooking a rapidly developing empire, dividing percentages and spreading the wealth, however, always with an eye toward peace and tranquility among the members. As noted in the book, representatives from New York, New Jersey, Miami, Tampa, Cleveland, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Detroit, and Las Vegas, all received a piece of the action in Havana. Lansky was able to keep it all together and oversee the payouts with a minimum of discord. Nonetheless, there was some conflict with one of the members, Albert Anastasia, who eventually was brutally murdered. Until today, no one really knows who ordered his elimination. Unfortunately for Lansky and his gang all was not as rosy as it appeared due to the fact that he and Batista had miscalculated and underestimated Fidel Castro. This in turn would turn the Havana Mob on its head resulting in the loss of millions of dollars of their own investments and the demise of El Presidente who esca

RICK "SHAQ" GOLDSTEIN SAYS: "HE COULD SING... BUT HE COULDN'T FLY!"

This wonderfully researched book will be pleasing and enlightening to people who may have two completely differing reading interests. Any Mafia aficionado or student of the history of Cuba, ranging from Governmental corruption to the revolution will be equally mesmerized. The author deftly fits the two stories, which at times precede each other... and at other times post date each other... and of course at times overlap each other... together like a well thought out jigsaw puzzle. In the eleven years following World War II "direct U.S. business investments in Cuba grew from $142 million to $952 million." (In today's dollars that would be 5-10 times more.) The extent of American interest in Cuba, an island the size of the state of Tennessee, ranked in third place among the nations of the world receiving U.S. investments." The Havana mob which was comprised of American Mafia and their associates, included such historical underworld figures as Charles "Lucky" Luciano, Meyer Lansky, Santo Trafficante, Albert Anastasia, and others. The author skillfully takes you back to Lucky and Meyer's childhood where they grew up together and forged a lifetime friendship and business relationship that eventually led to Meyer Lansky a Jew to be the actual de-facto leader of the mob's dream expansion into Cuba. In case the potential reader isn't aware of the fact; no person can become an official "made-man" unless he's one-hundred-percent Italian. The reader is adroitly taken back through Meyer's entire life, from his growing up tough, despite never rising past 5-feet-4-inches in height as an adult. His absolute love of gambling... but not needing to gamble... is what eventually made him the Mafia's architect in Las Vegas and Cuba. Meyer's idol as a young man was Arnold Rothstein, who was famous within mob circles for a number of things, but perhaps his biggest claim to fame was that; "HE WAS THE MAN WHO FIXED THE 1919 WORLD SERIES!" "From the beginning, Lansky understood that games of chance hit some men where they could not breathe. Gambling pulls at the core of a man, he once famously uttered. Most of his life would be spent profiting from the truth of this maxim". Along with Luciano, Ben "Bugsy" Siegel, was one of Lansky's best friend's since their teenage years, yet history credits (or fingers) Meyer for ordering the hit on Bugsy that entailed so many gunshots, that his "intact" eyeball was later found fourteen- feet away from his body. This murder, that was made famous in the Warren Beatty movie in later years, was ordered with the belief that Bugsy was "skimming" money from his mob brethren while overseeing the building of the Flamingo Hotel in Vegas. Assisting and making possible the mob's dream of a gaming and hotel jackpot in Cuba was Major General and later President Fulgencio Batista. Cuban corruption was not only rampant... and expected... but was part of Lansky's plan and budget. Once again the author brilliantly details the payoffs as well as the di
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