The Sugar King of Havana: The Rise and Fall of Julio Lobo, Cuba's Last Tycoon

Overview

"Fascinating...A richly detailed portrait." -Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

Known in his day as the King of Sugar, Julio Lobo was the wealthiest man in prerevolutionary Cuba. He had a life fit for Hollywood: he barely survived both a gangland shooting and a firing squad, and courted movie stars such as Joan Fontaine and Bette Davis. Only when he declined Che Guevara's personal offer to become Minister of Sugar in the Communist regime did Lobo's decades-long reign in Cuba ...

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The Sugar King of Havana: The Rise and Fall of Julio Lobo, Cuba's Last Tycoon

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Overview

"Fascinating...A richly detailed portrait." -Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

Known in his day as the King of Sugar, Julio Lobo was the wealthiest man in prerevolutionary Cuba. He had a life fit for Hollywood: he barely survived both a gangland shooting and a firing squad, and courted movie stars such as Joan Fontaine and Bette Davis. Only when he declined Che Guevara's personal offer to become Minister of Sugar in the Communist regime did Lobo's decades-long reign in Cuba come to a dramatic end. Drawing on stories from the author's own family history and other tales of the island's lost haute bourgeoisie, The Sugar King of Havana is a rare portrait of Cuba's glittering past-and a hopeful window into its future.

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Editorial Reviews

Michiko Kakutani
Although Mr. Rathbone…occasionally romanticizes Lobo and his world, he gives us a richly detailed portrait of this complicated, conflicted man while deftly weaving a thumbnail history of modern Cuba into Lobo's story. He leaves the reader with a palpable sense of the glittering and increasingly violent world that this "new sugar magus" and his family inhabited, and conveys both the profound emotional dislocations of exile and the dangers and persistence of nostalgia.
—The New York Times
Ann Louise Bardach
In The Sugar King of Havana, John Paul Rathbone…has pulled off a splendid trifecta. He has produced a long overdue biography of Lobo along with a perceptive and unsentimental rendering of pre-revolution Cuba as well as Rathbone's own family story—tracing his mother's trajectory from dazzling Havana debutante to toy store clerk in London. Rathbone's nuanced blending of familial and national history lends this work poignancy and depth.
—The Washington Post
From the Publisher
"An exceptionally rich portrait not only of an empire and its progenitor but Cuba itself, and the economic legacy of Castro's revolution, the loss of capital, and the end of Cuba's 'great age of sugar.'" —Publishers Weekly Starred Review
Booklist
[The Sugar King Of Havana] restores a realistic sense of what 1950s Cuba was like, including the guarded optimism with which many upper-crust Cubans such as Lobo initially viewed Castro's seizing of power. Rathbone's care with social atmosphere lifts his portrayal of Lobo above the usual life-of-a-tycoon and enriches the historical understanding of readers contemplating post Castro Cuba.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143119333
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 7/26/2011
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 444,626
  • Product dimensions: 5.51 (w) x 8.35 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Meet the Author

Simon Vance has recorded over four hundred audiobooks and has earned over twenty AudioFile Earphones Awards, including for his narration of Scaramouche by Rafael Sabatini. He is also the recipient of five coveted Audie Awards, including one for The King's Speech by Mark Logue and Peter Conradi, and he was named an AudioFile Best Voice of 2009.
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2012

    OK but um... just not that interesting or compelling.

    This is a book about a rich Cuban person who was one of the last barons in Cuba. The title basically says that. The story is about as exciting and interesting as reading about the last sugar baron of Cuba might be expected to be. All I remember is that he made his daughter climb a mountain and he thought the one that didn't make it was a wimp. That's it. One year later, and that's all I remember from the book. Not that exciting or memorable for me. Could just be me, though. The book is definitely well written.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2010

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    Posted August 17, 2010

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    Posted November 4, 2010

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    Posted July 20, 2011

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    Posted March 27, 2011

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    Posted July 12, 2011

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    Posted September 10, 2010

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