Mi Moto Fidel, Christopher Baker's intriguing account of his three-month romp through Cuba on a fire-engine red motorcycle is perhaps the most thorough portrait of this faded Communist country to date. Baker leaves no stone unturned as he revisits Ernest Hemingway's haunts in Havana, checks out a secret cave in the foothills of the sierras that once served as Che Guevara's command post during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and sips motojos at a thatched-roofed beach bar on Playa Los Pinos. On this exhaustive journey, our leather-clad "yanqui" interacts with a myriad of characters from artists to farmers to fisherman to prostitutes and engages in lively discussions on everything from politics, sex, cigars and, of course, on the ageing revolutionary himself, Fidel Castro. Baker effectively captures the essence of the Cuban people--primarily their generosity and resilient spirit and his various dalliances with beautiful habaneras (Daisy, Sonia, Juanita to name a few) will pique readers' interest (men's more than women's, perhaps). By the time Baker winds up back in Havana he has covered some 7,000 miles on his cherished bike. After reading Mi Moto Fidel, you'll no doubt be inspired to hit the road. --Jill Fergus --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Often hilarious, sometimes hair-raising, this engaging travelogue documents Baker's journey across Cuba astride a gaudy BMW motorcycle. The thrust of the book is relatively simple: child of the New Left grows up, takes monstrous icon of capitalism to former ideological paradise, locals ooh and ah at the chrome behemoth and the freedom it supposedly represents, writer becomes disenchanted, denounces socialism. Throw in enough skirt chasing by the 41-year-old Baker (a travel and natural science writer) to elicit images of a Yorkshire Mickey Spillane, and you've got an entertaining and thought-provoking, if frequently meandering, tale. Baker encounters an extraordinary cross-section of Cubans, including Fidelistos loyal to el barbudo (a nickname for Castro) and dissenters who speak of betrayal and corruption. Baker's own somewhat "pro-triunfo" beliefs change as he slowly cracks el manto (literally, "the mantle" of ideology and government propaganda) and sees what many believe to be the true product of Castro's regime. Baker's ideological revelation is compromised by his basing his transformation almost entirely on one conversation with a formerly middle-class couple, and by his inability to convince the reader that Cuban corruption has been more devastating than the U.S. economic stranglehold. His dabbling in ideology mars the book slightly; still, if the reader accepts Baker's treatises as nothing more than amateur musings, this account of a marvelously eccentric trip remains a very engaging read. Eight pages of full-color photos. (Feb.) Forecast: The clever cover, in reds and golds, will have browsers lifting this off shelves to see what it's all about.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
This remains a great book, even after re-reading it years later. It ought not to be dismissed as an account of the author's mid-life crisis, and it remains a truthful, perceptive... Read morePublished on July 31 2006 by Road King
Mi Moto Fidel is a good story of Cuba and it's people, and, of course, Fidel.
The author, Christopher Baker, is a good observer and accurately portrays a nation awash in... Read more
I read this book before a trip to Cuba, and Christopher Baker knows what he's talking about. He seems to really deeply care about the land and its people, and went through a lot of... Read morePublished on June 18 2003 by Singlemalt
I must say I became disappointed, because the author is so full of his own ego, lacking any style. Seemingly he wants to get in touch with the life of cuban people, but is staying... Read morePublished on March 27 2003
Mi Moto Fidel offers its reading audience a wonderfully captivating take on life in "Castro's Cuba". Mr. Read morePublished on March 12 2003
I've always wanted to vistit Cuba, and I am a big motorcycle buff. So putting the 2 together is what attracted me to the book. Read morePublished on Jan. 7 2003 by Bob Foster
This is a great travel, political, and adventure book, and one of the first non-fiction books I've ever read that I got totally lost in. Read morePublished on Oct. 29 2002
I bought this book expecting something along the lines of Patrick Symmes Chasing Che. Instead I got something else entirely. Fair enough. Read morePublished on Sept. 12 2002