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“Unprecedented. . . . Astonishing.”—Miami Herald
“A rarity: a balanced, compassionate, intimate journal of Cuba’s slow, agonizing decay.”—Sports Illustrated
“Price describes a lovely, proud, impoverished people caught in [a] repressive system that destroys thousands as it celebrates a handful.”—Kirkus
“Takes the wider view, poking its nose into the politics and culture of Cuba every few pages. Price has an easy, lyrical style that elevates his work beyond the usual sports fare.”—Business Week
“Fascinating, sometimes hilarious, often heart-wrenching.”—Philadelphia Inquirer
“Easily the most engaging book on Cuban sports—if not Cuba—published in many years.”—Baseball America
“Offers a rare and provocative tour of the world’s most remarkable sports culture. It’s an unforgettable story of supremely gifted athletes, the utter madness of politics, and the scent of big money across the sea.”—Carl Hiaasen
“Price is one of the finest writers on sports anywhere.”—USA Today
Cuban athletes have been put on a pedestal since Castro took power, and their achievements on the international stage have swelled the national chest and been interpreted as triumphs over capitalism. Yet as conditions on the embargoed island deteriorate, athletes who complain are banished to oblivion, while others--think Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez of the Yankees and Mets shortstop Rey Ordonez--flee for freedom and cash. Price's reportage on how freedom and money have changed many of the exiles, Ordonez most notably, is stunning. And still, despite rundown facilities and repatched equipment, Cuba keeps turning out remarkable athletes and loyal fans.
Examining the state of sports on the island, Price is in effect examining the state itself, and his own relationship to sports--and the big money of American sports--in the process. While the portrait he paints is not pretty, it is fascinating. There's much poignance in the joy that emanates from Cuba's playing fields, the passion in the stands, and the shabbiness Price observes in the appearance of the great Teofilo Stevenson--the multi-Olympic heavyweight champion and the island's reigning sports icon. Not even an icon can override the revolution's contradictions. --Jeff Silverman
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