[ Prime ] Cuba LibreAuthor Elmore Leonard – Freepe.co

A Wild Ride Through Cuba During The Spanish American War Miami Herald Not Only His Finest Novel But One That Transcends The Limits Of Its Genre And Is Worthy Of Being Evaluated As Literary Fiction Houston ChronicleBefore Grand Master El Leonard Earned His Well Deserved Reputation As The Best Writer Of Crime Fiction Alive Newsweek , He Penned Some Of The Finest Western Fiction To Ever Appear In Print The Classics Hombre, Valdez Is Coming, And To Yuma Were Just A Few Of His Notable Works With His Extraordinary Cuba Libre, Leonard Ingeniously Combines All Of His Many Talents And Delivers A Historical Adventure Caper Western Noir Like None Other The Creator Of US Marshal Raylan Givens, Star Of Raylan, Pronto, Riding The Rap, And TV S Justified, Spins A Gloriously Exciting Yarn About An American Horse Wrangler Who Escapes A Date With A Cuban Firing Squad To Join Forces With A Powerful Sugar Baron S Lady Looking To Make Waves And Score Big In And Around Spanish American War Torn Havana In Everything You Love About Leonard S Fiction And Is Evident In Cuba Libre No Wonder The New York Times Book Review Enthusiastically Declared Him A Literary Genius It has taken five books learn how devious Leonard can be in telling his stories I once thought of Leonard as a solid character writer Every character that he has brought to life has provided hours of entertainment through their unique characteristics He has never failed to tell a good story.But I also enjoy books with than just a good story I like books that reach out from the page, as Graham Greene often does, with insights to think about and considerThe truth has never been of any real value to any human being it is a symbol for the mathematicians and philosophers to pursue In human relations kindness and lies are worth a thousand truthsGGThis time, while reading Cuba Libre, I realized that Leonard does the same thing, but he is not as overt If Leonard wants to convey such insight, he does so But he does it through his characters, through their actions and dialogue without the need to pause for such commentary It is this implicit, character based insight that I found so intriguing in this, my fifth Leonard book And it is this implicit approach that keeps the characters out in front of the story, where the action is taking place, without a need to pause as Green is known to do Cuba Libre itself is a unique adventure Leonard takes time, place and of course characters and throws them all together Each character has a kindness about them that is contrasted with a dark past Towards the end, each of the characters was capable and suspect of doing the very opposite of their eventual acts Thus, a mystery was formed, not by withholding some crucial piece of information, but through the depiction of human nature all on its own In the end, hate, love, forgiveness, and greed swirl around within every character such that anything is possible. One of the better offerings from El Leonard this one is both western and heist, with a lot of historical references about the American intervention in Cuba after the explosion of the Maine in the port of Havana I know it is a recently published book, but I kept seeing Jimmy Stewart and Lauren Bacall as the main protagonists as I read through the novel Good cast of secondary characters, and a feeling of inevitability about the progression of the plot every move apparently unavoidable, forced from the first moment Tyler got involved in the Cuban adventure I liked the way Leonard managed to convey the silences and the things left unspoken in conversations natural dialogues are one of his reliable trademarks. Cuba Libre was published in 1998 and I d like to believe that El Leonard changed course from his contemporary crime novels to refute any allegations that he was turning out the same book over and over again But judging from the grin on my face while reading Leonard s 34th novel, he probably just wanted to have a good time writing a cowboy story, returning to territory he hadn t explored since Valdez Is Coming in 1970 The book is a hell of a soir e, nicely researched and slowly revealing characters and motifs that will be familiar to the author s fans, albeit in an exotic locale.The opening paragraph is Tyler arrived with the horses February eighteenth, three days after the battleship Maineblew up in Havana harbor He saw buzzards floating in the sky the way they do but couldn t make out what they were after This was off Morro Castle, the cattle boat streaming black smoke as it came through the narrows.Tyler is Ben Tyler, our cowboy He appears in Sweetwater in the Arizona Territory with an offer from his old friend who is Charlie Burke, foreman of the Circle Eye at the time, as many as thirty riders under him spring through the fall, put the boy to work chasing mustangs and company stock that had quit the bunch, and watched this kid gentle the green ones with a patience you didn t find in most hands Watched him trail boss herds they brought down in Old Mexico and drove to graze Watched him quit the big spread after seven years to work for a mustanger named Dana Moon, supplying horses to mine companies and stage lines and remounts to the U.S cavalry.Tyler took to extreme measures to collect nine hundred dollars a mining company owed him, finally withdrawing the money from Maricopa Bank with a.44 He resorted to the same tactic to collect another debt and with all that experience robbing banks under his belt, kept going, until his capture and internment to Yuma Prison Freed after three years, Tyler discovers a new problem which isYou don t ever want to win fame as an outlaw, Tyler said, unless everybody knows you ve done your time There re people who save wanted dodgers and keep an eye out They see me riding up the street and think, Why, there s five hundred dollars going by Next thing I know, I m trying to explain the situation to these men holding Winchesters on me I ve been shot at twice out on the graze, long range Another time I m in a line shack, a fella rode right into my camp and pulled on me You shot him I had to Now I got his relatives looking for me It s the kind of thing that never ends Well, Charlie Burke said, you should never ve robbed those banks Tyler said, Thanks for telling me Charlie Burke convinces Tyler to come in with him on a deal in Cuba with a buyer who needs polo horses When he was nine, Tyler spent a summer in Cuba on a sugar plantation operated by his father The brutal Spanish aristocracy, the dons, are at war with the native insurrectos and have provided Charlie Burke a market for horses the rebels either run off or kill Tyler does the math on their expenses and figures out that Charlie Burke is also doing business with the rebels smuggling guns The old man wants a partner who knows Cuba and has the nerve to operate on the opposite side of the law.Leonard sails the reader into Cuba for the weeks leading up to and following the Spanish American War in 1898 In Havana, Tyler and Charlie Burke meet a Cuban horse trader named Victor Fuentes serving as middleman on the deal between the cowboys and their buyer, an unscrupulous American businessman named Roland Boudreaux, who owns a sugar estate, among other assets These include Amelia Brown, his canny twenty year old American mistress, one of the few people who does as she pleases and says what she pleases around Boudreaux Upon meeting Tyler, she tells the cowboy that she likes his hat, not flirting, but looking him over Lionel Tavalera is an officer in the Guardia Civil who hunts insurrectos and as war against the United States edges forward American spies Defending himself against a dandy cavalry officer he offends, Tyler is thrown into the infamous Castillo de los Tres Reyes del Morro Tavalera suspects the cowboy of running guns and keeps him in the medieval prison until he can have Tyler shot Amelia, who s been supplying information to Victor Fuentes on behalf of the insurrectos, devises a scheme to have herself kidnapped by rebels and to aid them by ransoming herself to Boudreaux for forty thousand dollars To pull this off, Amelia and Fuentes break Tyler out of Morro, slaughtering eight of Tavalera s men The officer determines the kidnapping is a hoax and as the Americans come ashore, considers those forty thousand dollars to be his spoils of war To locate Tyler and Amelia and the loot, Tavalera employs his mistress s sadistic brother Osma, a runaway slave tracker As for Tyler and Amelia, they fall in love while at large and plot to take the ransom for themselves.In other words, vintage El Leonard wrapped in colorful new packaging What makes this a fun novel as opposed to a great one is that a lot of stuff seems to happen to the main character rather than the main character making stuff happen I can t help but think the outcome of the story would ve been exactly the same had Ben Tyler never come to Cuba His relationship with Amelia is pretty much dictated by hormones, which is believable, but not very compelling I didn t find them a attractive couple, like Wayne Carmen Colson in Killshot The mark of a great literary couple is when I start imagining all the great sex they re having between chapters, because the author is too polite to intrude and report back I never felt my mind wandering there in this book.Like a lot of westerns, Cuba Libre is straightforward the good guys and the bad guys are exactly who they appear to be There s a train robbery, a prison break, a saloon duel, several shootouts and a showdown and all of them turn out exactly like I expected I could have done with less action and interplay between the parties as they scramble for the ransom money Surprises weren t in high order, but what I enjoyed were a train robbery, a prison break, a saloon duel, several shootouts and a showdown being executed with the brevity and panache of an author who loves this milieu and had it researched clearly Here s my list of El Leonard novels ranked from favorite to least favorite 1 Stick 1983 2 Killshot 1989 3 Cuba Libre 1998 4 Pronto 1993 5 Be Cool 1999 6 Get Shorty 1990 7 LaBrava 1983 Like his book The Hot Kid from 2005, El Leonard s earlier Cubra Libre is an entertaining crime novel set in a bygone era In this case, the time period is the days leading up to and during the Spanish American War, with the crimes involving smuggling guns to Cuba and absconding with ransom money.As he did in The Hot Kid, Leonard in Cubra Libre offers up an interesting cast of characters, artfully juggles interrelated storylines, and demonstrates a keen ear for conversation There s also another connection between the two books Virgil Webster, the father of The Hot Kid s hero, is a minor character in both Cubra Libre s main weakness, as often seems to be the case in Leonard s novels, is his depiction of the lead female character Leonard s women feel like male fantasies amazingly attractive, sexually available, and breezily quick witted in conversation than believable human beings Cuba Libre s Amelia Brown is no exception Also, the romance between Amelia and Ben Tyler is as sappy and shallow as the one between Kelly Barr and Frank Delsa in Leonard s Mr Paradise from 2004 Cuba Libre is still a far stronger book than Mr Paradise, though, and its flaws aren t overly distracting It s an easy recommendation for Leonard fans, of course, but also for anyone who enjoys crime novels that offer readers something beyond propulsive plots. Oh boy This is a big favorite in a big way I didn t even know what I was getting into here and as it dawned on me, those first few chapters, giddy is the word to describe it The Spanish American War The USS Maine The hotbed of Cuba in the history according to El Leonard, which means well, hell yes, gunrunners and cowboys and a prison break and a train heist and warlords and yellow fever and a pretty kick ass love story Wrapped up in so much historical accuracy I read a book s worth of history on the side and learned about the Cuban revolution than I ever knew from school.But mostly, this is El Leonard So we re running and gunning but he s showing every side, and everybody here is a schemer, and everybody here is just human, wonderfully so, relievedly so, not particularly noble or evil or honorable or vile but right and wrong in big and small ways regardless Well, the Guardias are basically glorified target practice, but in light of events, rightly so The stories weave and tangle and twist and turn, and all of them are just my kind of story Could it be any my kind of story Well, yes But it would have to change its plot and name to The Moonshine War. Virgil Webster Novis Crowe Ahem I had to get that out of my system Of course Virgil as in, father to Carl, great grandfather to Ben is the kid Marine thrown clear of the Maine as she blew Of course it s a Crowe from Lake Okeechobee by way of Newerleans on the payroll as muscle during the Cuban revolution Of course I d like all my history books adapted thusly, please. USS Maine na Ba a de Havana 1898O escritor norte americano El Leonard 1925 2013 escreveu uma novela hist rica, nas v speras da Guerra Hispano Americana, que decorreu entre 25 de Abril e 12 de Agosto de 1898, entre a Espanha e os Estados Unidos da Am rica, em Cuba, interligando, igualmente, a revolta cubana contra o dom nio espanhol e a sua Guerra da Independ ncia o naufr gio misterioso do navio USS Maine a 15 de Fevereiro de 1898 no porto de Havana, numa explos o, por acidente ou por sabotagem, que vai despoletar a eclos o da Guerra Hispano Americana e que enquadra admiravelmente um enredo com personagens inesquec veis e realistas, numa trama complexa mas de f cil leitura.Ben Tyler um comboy norte americano, assaltante de bancos e ex presidi rio, que tinha sofrido o efeito das intemp ries e das dificuldades , contratado por Charles Burke, um negociante de cavalos, para entregar 30 cavalos em Cuba, ao seu conterr neo, o industrial da cana do a car e capitalista Roland Boudreaux Rollie , numa transac o destinada a encobrir a venda de armas aos insurrectos cubanos, e liderada por Victor Fuentes O elemento da Guardia Civil Lionel Talavera, o chefe da Pol cia Municipal de Havana Andr s Palenzuela, o detective da pol cia Rudi Calvo e o chefe da guerrilha Islero, s o algumas das personagens, que representam uma outra vertente da narrativa, dominada por interesses d bios, mas integrada perfeitamente na sua componente hist rica, com crimes e tiroteios, persegui es e pris es infernais, associados a c digos de honra complexos Virgil Webster o marinheiro sobrevivente na explos o do navio USS Maine e o jornalista norte americano Neely Tucker, fonte de informa o e contador de hist rias , duas outras personagens secund rias, porque protagonistas de aventuras paralelas, se revelam essenciais no desenvolvimento da narrativa Numa hist ria dominada pelos homens El Leonard revela nos uma enigm tica e lind ssima personagem feminina, Amelia Brown, amante de Brodeaux, uma femme fatale, num tri ngulo amoroso com Ben Tyler, feito de as primeira vista, e envolvida numa hist ria de sequestro, com um resgate de 40.000 d lares, conjugando trai es e uni es inesperadas Em Cuba Libre 1998 El Leonard associa a vertente hist rica de uma guerra complexa, onde se congregam in meros interesses revolucion rios, numa trama interligada e com recurso ao uso de flash backs, revelando um suspense e uma ac o espectacular, onde os di logos s o soberbos, e escritos com humor rebuscado e ir nico.Altamente recomendado Lut mos com honra e agora est tudo acabado P g 299 A well written historical novel, Cuba Libre describes the island s cities and towns with just enough information to make the reader want to see this country for themselves I liked the love story involving the southern American cowboy Ben and the beautiful, rebellious Amelia Though this is a work of fiction, it is very accurate in its details of the Spanish American war of 1898 Interesting facts about the sinking of the battleship Maine which I have found on the internet and summarized 9.40pm on the night of February 15th, 1898 the United States battleship Maine, at anchor in Havana harbour, was suddenly blown up, apparently by a mine, in an explosion which tore her bottom out and sank her, killing 260 officers and men on board What caused the explosion or who was responsible has never been established but the consequence was the Spanish American War of 1898 American sentiment was strongly behind Cuban independence The New York Journal and the New York World, inflamed the situation with the exhortation to Remember the Maine , and by encouraging action They were vigorously supported by hawkish senators and the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Theodore Roosevelt In the end the government in Spain declared war on the United States on April 24th The American Congress had already authorised the use of armed force and the United States formally declared war on April 25th An American fleet under Commander Dewey annihilated a Spanish fleet in Manila Bay in the Philippines on May 1st In June an American force landed east of the Cuban city of Santiago On July 1st Teddy Roosevelt s Rough Riders helped troopers of the 10th Cavalry take the San Juan Heights above the city of Santiago, which surrendered on the 17th The Spanish Cuban fleet, which had meanwhile fled Santiago harbour, was hunted down by American battleships and destroyed in four hours American troops took Puerto Rico a few days afterwards When a peace treaty was signed in Paris in December, Spain lost its last colonies in the New World The United States took the Philippines, Puerto Rico and the Pacific island of Guam, and achieved worldwide recognition as a great power Cuba gained independence, Theodore Roosevelt earned a hero s reputation. Tyler arrived with the horses February eighteenth, three days after the battleship Maine blew up in Havana harbor He saw buzzards floating in the sky the way they do but couldn t make out what they were after This was off Morro Castle, the cattle boat streaming black smoke as it came through the narrows There are better times in history to visit Cuba than in 1898 The U.S battleship Maine is nothing, but a pile of wreckage in the harbor The Spanish are wondering how America will respond Will they declare war Will they invade The insurrectos are becoming bold and aggressive Even the whores have chosen a side and are working for what the revolutionaries need mostThe Whores in Havana, Fuentes said to Tyler, won t take money from the common Spanish soldier, the soldado raso, who s paid next to nothing What they do, they charge one hundred Mauser cartridges to go to bed with them, which to the soldier is like getting it for nothing Fuentes said the whores gave the cartridges to the insurrectos and this was one of the ways they got bullets for their Mausers, the rifles they took from Spanish soldiers they killed Cuba is a time bomb, and the clock is ticking down to zero These uncertain times may not be the best time for Ben Tyler from Sweetmary, Arizona, to be bringing in a string of horses, but then horses aren t worth a plugged nickel in the states In Cuba, a country on the verge of war, horses are bringing a premium price Roland Boudreaux says he wants them for Polo ponies, but then again, a guy like Boudreaux might have all kinds of plans for those horses He is rich, and his loyalty might be to Spain or it might be to whoever might best represent his interests He has a gorgeous 20 year old American mistress who has uncertain loyalties as well and is as volatile as nitroglycerine Ben Tyler sees her, and Amelia Brown sees him Something sparks that gold can t buy Charlie Burke is Tyler s old friend from the states who set this deal up Of course, the horses are not where the big money is that resides under the floorboards of the transportation boat He brought in Tyler because he wanted someone who had et the cake Boudreaux is getting wishy washy on paying what he owes for the horses He looks at Tyler and sees nothing, but a flat broke cowboy What he can t see is that Tyler is full of sand from the top of his head to the bottom of his feet If you don t pay him, he ll find a way to make you pay him Just ask the mining company of Hatch and Hodges When they refuse to pay him, he walks into a branch of the Maricopa Bank and kindly asks the teller to withdraw 900 from the Hatch and Hodges account Tyler is nice about it, but the reason he gets the money is because of the.44 Smith and Wesson Russian pistol he sticks in the teller s face Robbing banks seems like an easy way to make money He ends up in Yuma prison which is no picnic, but little does he know that in Cuba he is mere hours away from ending up in Castillo de los Tres Reyes del Morro Most men who go in there never come back out, and those that do are just a mere shadow of their former selves There are no rules There are no rights So how does a guy like Ben Tyler end up in Castillo de los Tres Reyes del Morro Well, he has an altercation There are those men who walk through life, usually for a very short while, who are intentionally thin skinned and are just hoping that someone insults them so they can make something of it This Spanish officer, who fits that descriptionmakes something with the wrong guy He ends up with a third eye between the other two, and Ben Tyler ends up at the mercy of unscrupulous men Amelia Brown s knees are made of water, and her stomach has been doing little flip flops ever since she first caught sight of Ben Tyler She may not have had a good idea of what she wanted to do with the rest of her life, but now she knows who she wants to do it with She concocts a plan to get him out of this impregnable prison and help the insurrection at the same time It almost goes well.El Leonard is a master of dialogue He doesn t overwrite it He leaves a lot unsaid, but those pauses between exchanges are FAT with meaning This technique lends an authenticity to his writing He is one of those writers who defies genre categorization When I was in the book business, El Leonard was a writer whom many professors, professionals, and elitist readers called their guilty pleasure Leonard routinely made the bestseller list Hollywood mined his work for films, and yet no one dared call him a sell out I was fortunate enough to meet him one time He was quiet, completely self possessed, and could have easily been a sidekick for a main character in one of his own stories He was a quick and assured writer with a head full of stories that spilled out of his pen like oil from an Oklahoma well This was his last Western and the only one he d written since 1970 His success at writing hardboiled novels took him away from writing Westerns, but I m sure there were twenty or thirty stories of the West percolating in his head if he ever needed to write them He found an even bigger audience late in his career with the TV show Justified, where the main character, Raylan Givens, is a man who could have walked out of a Western novel set during the 1860s instead of the modern era Certainly Givens s code is of a man from another time and place Wrong is just wrong, and right has to be made right I used to read Leonard s books just for enjoyment, an escape from my boring life, but now when I read his books, I really appreciate what he does The structure, the crisp dialogue, the way his characters, even some of his villains, stood for something That Leonard code that may have come to life in his early Westerns continues to surface in all of his work, clear up until his final novel Good men are bad, and bad men are good Leonard spent a lifetime blurring the lines of our own assumptions about people and revealing the flaws that make us human Sometimes those flaws prove to be worth than our virtues If you wish to see of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit also have a Facebook blogger page at I became intrigued with reading El Leonard s books after watching the first season of Justified , especially his interview in one of the bonus features This is the first book I have read It has a very interesting style, almost a shorthand that allows you to fill the gaps in the narrative This story begins with 2 American cowboys contracted to deliver a shipment of horses and some other stuff , who arrive in Cuba 3 days after the Maine is blown up in Havana s harbor It s filled with a multitude of disreputable characters who each seem to have their own code of honor Leonard switches the attention from one character to the next making sharp plot twists My overall impression is of a mostly corrupt society made complaisant by colonialism.