Havana Nocturne

49. Havana Nocturne: How The Mob Owned Cuba – And Then Lost It to the Revolution by T.J. English. 396 p. Published June 2008.

In 1959, Fidel Castro overthrew General Batista to take control of Cuba. But for almost 30 years prior, Cuba’s political strife and corruption served as the perfect atmosphere for organised crime to make a profit.

After the end of prohibition, mobsters knew they needed to diversify and find other sources of income. Gambling soon became one of the most profitable ventures for most gangsters, but increasing regulation and government pressure loomed in their future. Two mobsters, Meyer Lansky and Charles “Lucky” Luciano, foresaw the need for a base of operations outside of the U.S. – setting organised crime and North American politics on a collision path.

What most people know of the mob’s involvment in Cuba comes from the second Godfather film. And all of it comes down to myth and suposition. In Havana Nocturne, English composes dozens of accounts and testimonials to formulate the facts and reality of the Havana Mob’s rise to power. In doing so, English reveals Lansky’s vision for Cuba – an island of pleasure, gambling, and graft – and the steps he took to stear others toward that goal.

I found this book to be an amazing and in-depth look into the mob’s heyday and a great read for anyone who enjoys true-crime or politics.

Rating: 5 out of 5

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