Review: Historic Photos of Cuban Miami

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

From the Spanish-American War to the rise of Castro, followed by the Cuban airlifts in the 1960s and the controversial Mariel boatlift of the 1980s, HISTORIC PHOTOS OF CUBAN MIAMI commemorates the progress of this resilient community of people through 200 black-and-white images.

This collection looks back at the origins, hardships, and unique ethnicity of the great American metropolis of Miami. The images matched with informative captions and in-depth chapter introductions tell the story of this chapter in recent American history; a time that was so influential for Miami and the Cuban exiles and Cuban-Americans who call Miami home.

The author, JENNIFER ORTIZ was born and raised in South Florida to Cuban exile parents. She is a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelors in history and concentration in Latin American studies. In her past research, she studied the Latino identity, slavery, and society. Ortiz currently writes freelance and is working on a children's book. She and her family live in Parkland, Florida, where they hold frequent family gatherings filled with dominoes, café cubano, and lechon.

Historic Photos of Cuban Miami is a fabulous story book that unfolds the history of a corner of Miami-- the influence of Cuban Americans and their culture and how it transformed an entire section of Miami. Hialeah was originally planned as the next glamour city. In 1922, Miami Studios was built in Hollywood fashion. World War II and Cuban exiles altered that vision. Instead South Beach took the spotlight with its location hugging the ocean.

The concise  paragraph captions leap like a pop-up book figuratively and transports you to an era of uncertainty, boiling tensions, and a city transforming like the biology of a teenager--overnight, full of passion and rage, a sense of immortality despite the ugly face of communism a mere 90 miles away. But also a story of determination to succeed despite the odds here and there.

Historic Photos of Cuban Miami makes for a great coffee table book and equally engaging conversation piece. Or enjoy it all to yourself one lazy afternoon relaxing on lounge chair with an iced latte spiked with a shot of a cafe cubano.


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