|Product Details |
University of Texas Press
From Library Journal
In 1996 after a 36-year absence, Mendoza--a photographer by trade--returned to his native Cuba. This book, based on the photos and interviews he conducted on his trip, is a remarkable first-hand account of today's Cuba. Burdened both by the loss of Soviet aid and the American embargo, he concludes, Cuba is a testimony to the failure of Castro's socialism. He reports that he encountered very few Castro supporters and found numerous Cubans willing to speak out against the failed social experiment. He often heard them say "Fidel is no economist"--something he reflects upon through the lens of his camera. Like others, Mendoza decides that Cubans would be better off if the United States did not push so hard for an end to Castro and left him alone to deal with failure. Similar to Andrei Codrescu's Ay, Cuba! (LJ 3/1/99), this volume is best summarized in a series of photos of a Havana park bench. In each succeeding photo, the bench, much like Cuba, is dismantled by time and the very people its aims to please. Highly recommended for most libraries.
-Boyd Childress, Auburn Univ.Lib., AL
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Miami Herald, 26 December 1999
A subtle yet striking collection of sepia-like photographs depicting life in Cuba, coupled with the perceptive observations of a Cuban exile returning home for the first time in 36 years, make this more than a coffee table dust-catcher... a fascinating and even-handed, yet sometimes harshly critical, word-and-picture view. While the information gathered and the pictures taken date to 1996, events of the intervening three years have done little to alter this volume's timeliness. In fact, it may... read more --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Imagine being unable to return to your homeland for thirty-six years. What would you do if you finally got a chance to go back? In 1996, after travel restrictions between the United States and Cuba were relaxed, Cuban exile Tony Mendoza answered that question. Taking his cameras, notebooks, and an unquenchable curiosity, he returned for his first visit to Cuba since the summer of 1960, when he emigrated with his family at age eighteen. In this book he presents over eighty evocative photographs accompanied by a beautifully written text that mingles the voices of many Cubans with his own to offer a compelling portrait of a resilient people awaiting the inevitable passing of the socialist system that has failed them. His photographs and interviews bear striking witness to the hardships and inequalities that exist in this workers' "paradise," where the daily struggle to make ends meet on an average income of eight dollars a month has created a longing for change even in formerly ardent revolutionaries. At the same time, Cuba--Going Back is an eloquent record of a personal journey back in time and memory that will resonate with viewers and readers both within and beyond the Cuban American community. It belongs on the shelves of anyone who values excellent photography and well-crafted prose.