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Cuba Classics [Hardcover]

Christopher Baker
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
List Price: CDN$ 37.95
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Book Description

Jan. 1 2004
This unique homage to Cuba's astonishing wealth of antique cars is also a paean to the extraordinary people who keep their weary cacharros running with resourcefulness, ingenuity and great humor. In a collection of vibrant images, this book reveals the timeworn splendor of classic American automobiles spanning eight decades.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

In this paean to the vintage car, Baker, who has also provided the photos, juxtaposes American autos against the backdrop of Cuba to great effect. "Today, Cuba possesses about 450,000 cars, of which one-sixth are pre-revolutionary American autos dating back to the ’20s and ’30s," he writes. Most of the cars pictured here, however, come from the 1950s: a pristine-looking green 1950 Chevrolet Styline Bel-Air is parked alongside a gray, weathered house; in the foreground an old man in a straw hat walks by eating from two ice cream cones. Not all of the photos are of the best quality (there are random, grainy pictures of people on the streets and free-frame photos of cars in motion), but overall, the photos effectively capture the beauty of the vintage cars themselves as well as the country that keeps them running. This photographic history is a nice companion to Baker’s award-winning travel memoir, Mi Moto Fidel: Motorcycling Through Castro’s Cuba.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Travel writer Baker has been to Cuba 20 times to research books, and one of the more fascinating aspects of contemporary Cuba did not escape his notice: it is the "largest American car museum in the world." Before Castro, particularly in the 1940s and 1950s, Cuba imported a vast number of cars from the U.S, but since the embargo, no more cars can be brought across the Florida Strait. Consequently, the islanders are left to make do--to repair and relish the cars they owned before the embargo. Baker's lively text and rousing photographs give a palpable sense of the "time warp" experienced by tourists to today's Cuba as they, say, spot a 1952 Ford Victoria, catch a glimpse of a 1955 Chrysler New Yorker, or closely observe a 1959 Studebaker Lark. The photographs are the major draw here, for Baker catches these prized vehicles, most held together only by a creative use of spare parts, in full-length profiles, up-close details, at rest, or zooming by on street and road. Brad Hooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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First Sentence
Before 1959 Cuba was the hottest spot in the Caribbean, notorious for its glittering casinos, smooth rum, fabulous beaches, beautiful women, and a caliente nightlife compared to which all others seemed fainthearted efforts. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome Cuba (not just a car) Book April 24 2009
The pix are awesome but the text takes me right back to my time there as well.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic on Cuban Classic Cars Aug. 13 2004
By Tony Tedeschi - Published on Amazon.com
Chris Baker is the preeminent travel writer covering Cuba today. His guidebooks for National Geographic Traveler and Moon Publishing are biblical Baedekers for anyone traveling to the island. "Mi Moto Fidel," his book-length journey around the island on a BMW motorcycle, reads like a Hemingwayan novel -- and has garnered prestigious writing awards. Now, with "Cuba Classics," Baker has taken his already impressive act to a new level, displaying his skill as a photographer, which is nothing short of artistry. His stunning photographs of vintage American autos -- so plentiful in Cuba -- are not only wonderful depictions of cars not seen in the U.S. for decades, but are the subjects of photos that demonstrate a photographer's instinctively artistic command of format, color, tone, and lighting. Settings for the autos often speak to the greater issue of the Cuban landscape, both urban and rural. It's a must book for car buffs, for anyone interested in photographic artistry, for anyone enamoured of beautiful writing. As a long-time fan of Baker's journalism, I have found myself asking what else could he possibly do to present another aspect of this island country he knows and loves? "Cuba Classics" is the latest answer to that question. Kudos.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars When America made magnificent cars Sept. 22 2011
By Barbara - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I love this book! The photography is poor, the printing quality could be better, but the cars are the stars! When it arrived I was stunned to see all the old cars, cars made back when America made unforgettable cars. Now you can't tell one American car from another and they are all ho-hum.
The photos also show some of Cuba, a beautiful island that we should never have lost as our friend. The photos, history and stories captivated me and I just sat down and spent two hours reading the book. I didn't want put it down.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cars & Cuba Knockout Dec 4 2004
By James OReilly - Published on Amazon.com
Yes, we've all seen great photos of classic cars in Cuba--but this book will make you swoon. Your knees will buckle, and you will become feverish with desire to get yourself to Cuba as soon as possible. Magnificent.
4.0 out of 5 stars We Are our Automobiles April 14 2014
By Dixie Girl - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is not just for classic car buffs. This beautifully photographed book offers some well-written commentaries on Cuban history as well as contemporary Cuba.
5.0 out of 5 stars All Aspects of Cars in Cuba and lots of Great Pictures Jan. 3 2013
By M. Feay - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
We were lucky to travel with Chris Baker in Cuba. It is fun to learn even more about the cars in Cuba.
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