A Cuban in Mayberry: Looking Back at America's Hometown

A Cuban in Mayberry: Looking Back at America's Hometown

by Gustavo Pérez Firmat
     
 

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Half a century after viewers first watched a father and son walking to the local fishing hole, whistling a simple, yet unforgettable, tune, The Andy Griffith Show remains one of the most popular sitcoms in the history of American television. Tens of millions of viewers have seen the show either in its original run, its ongoing reruns, on DVD, or on the

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Overview

Half a century after viewers first watched a father and son walking to the local fishing hole, whistling a simple, yet unforgettable, tune, The Andy Griffith Show remains one of the most popular sitcoms in the history of American television. Tens of millions of viewers have seen the show either in its original run, its ongoing reruns, on DVD, or on the internet. Websites devoted to the show abound, hundreds of fan clubs bring enthusiasts together, and a plethora of books and Mayberry-themed merchandise have celebrated all things Mayberry. A small cottage industry has even developed around the teachings of the show's episodes. But why does a sitcom from the 1960s set in the rural South still evoke such devotion in people today?

In A Cuban in Mayberry, acclaimed author Gustavo Pérez Firmat revisits America's hometown to discover the source of its enduring appeal. He approaches the show from a unique perspective—that of an exile who has never experienced the rootedness that Andy and his fellow Mayberrians take for granted, as folks who have never strayed from home or lived among strangers. As Pérez Firmat weaves his personal recollections of exile from Cuba with an analysis of the show, he makes a convincing case that the intimacy between person and place depicted in TAGS is the secret of its lasting relevance, even as he reveals the surprising ways in which the series also reflects the racial, generational, and political turbulence of the 1960s.

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Editorial Reviews

The Andy Griffith Show Rerun Watcher's Club - Staff
This 194-page book, the first book about "The Andy Griffith Show" in over 12 years, is the most scholarly book about the show to date. It's sure to be fascinating reading for the many devoted fans of the show, and is certain to expand any fan's knowledge of and appreciation for "The Andy Griffith Show" and what Mayberry means to all of us.

And along the way, we might even learn some things about ourselves, too.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780292739055
Publisher:
University of Texas Press
Publication date:
10/01/2014
Pages:
194
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.70(d)

What People are saying about this

Robert J. Thompson
This is, by far, the best volume about a single television show that I have ever read. . . . Not only is it the most thorough and informed treatment of The Andy Griffith Show available, it also provides many insights and contexts about 1960s television in general. I think, however, that it may find its greatest audience among general readers. . . . The rabid fans—and there are many of them—would consider this required reading, but many other more casual viewers who have a warm and nostalgic relationship to the show will also find it very appealing.
Jorge Olivares
Once I took a look at the first few paragraphs, I couldn’t put the book down. By the time I finished reading it, Pérez Firmat had convinced me that Mayberry, long regarded as an icon of the rural, pastoral, and nostalgic South, is also a special location on the cultural map of Cuban America. Fans of The Andy Griffith Show—and they are legion—will be thrilled by this smart, witty, and moving book.

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Meet the Author

Born in Havana and raised in Miami, GUSTAVO PÉREZ FIRMAT is currently the David Feinson Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University in New York City, as well as a resident of Chapel Hill, North Carolina. A noted writer and scholar, he is the author of many books, including the award-winning Life on the Hyphen: The Cuban-American Way, and numerous essays and reviews. Newsweek included him among “100 Americans to watch for in the 21st century” and Hispanic Business Magazine selected him as one of the “100 most influential Hispanics” in the United States.

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