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Miami It is where Fidel Castro raised money to overthrow Batista and where two generations of Castro's enemies have raised armies to overthrow him, so far without success It is where the bitter opera of Cuban exile intersects with the cynicism of US foreign policy It is a city whose skyrocketing murder rate is fueled by the cocaine trade, racial discontent, and an undeclared war on the island ninety miles to the south As Didion follows Miami's drift into a Third World capital, she also locates its position in the secret history of the Cold War, from the Bay of Pigs to the Reagan doctrine and from the Kennedy assassination to the Watergate breakin Miami is not just a portrait of a city, but a masterly study of immigration and exile, passion, hypocrisy, and political violence [Reading] ➸ A Fire Sparkling By Julianne MacLean – so far without success It is where the bitter opera of Cuban exile intersects with the cynicism of US foreign policy It is a city whose skyrocketing murder rate is fueled by the cocaine trade ❴PDF / Epub❵ ☆ Running Blind (Havoc, Author S.E. Jakes – racial discontent ➯ Tell Me You Love Me (Fire Me Up, Read ➸ Author Julie Prestsater – and an undeclared war on the island ninety miles to the south As Didion follows Miami's drift into a Third World capital ➮ [Read] ➪ All Creatures Great and Small By Precious Moments ➺ – she also locates its position in the secret history of the Cold War ❰Epub❯ ➚ Secrets of Winter Author Ginnie Carmichael – from the Bay of Pigs to the Reagan doctrine and from the Kennedy assassination to the Watergate breakin Miami is not just a portrait of a city ❰KINDLE❯ ✾ Guide pratique de la chasteté masculine contrôlée et de la Gynarchie conjugale Auteur Sylvia Labiche – but a masterly study of immigration and exile [Reading] ➸ High Quality Low Cost Software Inspections By Ronald A. Radice – passion [PDF] ✎ Everlasting (Night Watchmen, By Candace Knoebel – hypocrisy ❴PDF❵ ✑ Of Being Underground and Moving Backwards Author Heather Babcock – and political violence Moments of this were fascinating, but on the whole this book felt so scattered and unfocused that, by the end, when I think I was supposed to be feeling a rising tension, what I actually felt was relief that it was over. The first third of Miami seemed to promise nothingthan amusing reportage—when drug traffickers go househunting they look for private water access; Tony Montana became a mythic hero almost the instant Scarface premiered—but then it began to hit much harder Didion is so good that any subject she takes up seems her destined one, the exclusive focus of her brooding brilliance; but reading Miami I was tempted to narrow things down and say she’s truly in her element among covert missions and counterrevolutionary conspiracy, and at her very best when relating brutal ops to the amnesiac innocence projected by our actorleaders, when contrasting the frank machismo of Washington’s surrogates with Washington’s own circular, coquettish language of power—“a language in which deniability was built into the grammar.” Her presentation of the fraught marriage of the “sacrificial and absolutist” Cuban politicos and pragmatic, desultory Imperial Washington makes this book a keeper.In many ways, Miami remains our graphic lesson in consequences “I can assure you that this flag will be returned to this brigade in a free Havana,” John F Kennedy said at the Orange Bowl in 1962…meaning it as an abstraction, a rhetorical expression of a collective wish; a kind of poetry, which of course makes nothing happen “We will not permit the Soviets and their henchmen in Havana to deprive others of their freedom,” Ronald Reagan said at the Dade County Auditorium in 1983, and then Ronald Reagan, the first American president since John F Kennedy to visit Miami in search of Cuban support, added this: “Someday, Cuba itself will be free.”This was of course justpoetry, another rhetorical expression of the same collective wish, but Ronald Reagan, like John F Kennedy before him, was speaking here to people whose historical experience had not been that poetry makes nothing happen.Perhaps what I mean to say is that Didion writes particularly well about politics— because, I now see, with a glance back to her famous 1960sthemed collections, she is really a connoisseur of the fantasies fermenting in our rhetoric—rhetoric that can be taken literally or deployed symbolically, instrumentally—and she has a deep appreciation of personalities and subcultures for whom political speech is an exhilaration, a medium of metaphysics.That the wish to see Fidel Castro removed from power in Cuba did not in itself constitute a political philosophy was a point ratherappreciated in el exilio, which had as its legacy a tradition of considerable political sophistication, than in Washington, which tended to accept the issue as an idea, and so to see Cuban exiles as refugees not just from Castro but from politics In fact exile life in Miami was dense with political distinctions, none of them exactly in the American grain Miami was for example the only American city I had ever visited in which it was not unusual to hear one citizen describe the position of another as “Falangist,” or as “essentially Nasserite.” There were in Miami exiles who defined themselves as communists, antiCastro There were in Miami a significant number of exile socialists, also antiCastro There were in Miami two prominent groups of exile anarchists, many still in their twenties, all antiCastro, and divided from one another, I was told, by “personality differences,” “personality differences” being the explanation Cubans tend to offer for anything from a dinnertable argument to a coup.This urge toward the staking out of increasingly recondite positions, traditional to exile life in Europe and Latin America, remained, in South Florida, exotic, a nervous urban brilliance not entirely apprehended by local Anglos, who continued to think of exiles as occupying a fixed place on the political spectrum, one usually described as “rightwing” or “ultraconservative”…Still, “rightwing,” on the American spectrum, where political positions were understood as marginally different approaches to what was seen as a shared goal, seemed not to apply This was something different, a view of politics as so central to the human condition that there may be no applicable words in the vocabulary of most Americans Virtually every sentient member of the Miami exile community was on any given day engaged in what was called an “ideological confrontation” with some other member of the Miami exile community…Reminds me of Nabokov’s complaint that Western Europeans and Americans always pictured exiled Russians as former ladiesinwaiting to the Czarina or reactionary, monoclewearing counts—when, as just one sample of the complexity of that emigration, Nabokov’s paternal grandfather had been Minister of Justice to one Czar; his father had been imprisoned by the next Czar, and then assassinated in Berlin by royalist fellow exiles; and though descended from a deeply antiSemitic aristocracy, his wife was Jewish, as was his closest literary associate, an editor prominent in the Socialist Revolutionary party, antiLenin I don’t like Castro and can think of few figurestiresome than Che Guevara, but I have always found it all too easy to picture many of the firstgeneration Cuban exiles as rightist goons; but now, perhaps no less facilely, I see them in the long roll of “freedom fighters”—“terrorists” when the wind changes—trained and temporarily utilized by the United States, promised much, and then strung along, diverted, their struggles, causes, and plucky wars of independence supported and fulsomely publicized only while it was expedient to do so I thought of the black soldiers who bled for the Union only to be abandoned to sharecropping and Jim Crow; the Native American scouts and guides who ended up on reservations just like the tribes that resisted; the Cuban and Filipino nationalists whose brief interval of independence from Spain was quashed by their North American allies and “liberators”; the mujahedeen at grips with the Soviets; the Iraqi Shiites and Kurds after the first Gulf War. Havana vanities come to dust in Miami Joan Didion, Miami The shadowy missions, the secret fundings, the conspiracies beneath conspiracies, the deniable support by parts of the U.S government and active discouragement by other partsall these things have fostered a tensely paranoid style in parts of our own political life, Didion suggests.Miami is us, and the tangled tales we heard recently of private armies and retired generals fighting their own lucrative wars provide something of a retrospective support for a thesis developed long before the Irangate hearings LA Times Review by Richard EderThe brilliance of this book is Didion's ability to capture the swampyness of the politics of Miami and South Florida, or what Christopher LehmannHaupt described as Miami's murky underwater darkness full of sharks and evil shadows, and use that as a lense into the US policies in Cuba (during the Kennedy years) and Central America (during the Reagan years) The swampy feel, however, was both a plus (atmosphere) and a negative (narrativeflow) This book reminds me of the feeling I got when reading Delillo's Libra or Mailer's This was a thrift store offer I couldn't refuse; a Joan Didion book I'd never heard of for a nickel But did I really care to read her impressionistic musings on the city of Miami (as of the mid1980s, when this was penned) and the complicated influence/history of the Cubanexile community on it? Maybe not, but Didion hooked me right off the bat.Reading the comments of some others here, I find some predictable grousing about Didion being as a sort of female, whiteprivileged, racist interloper; thus inherently unqualified, evidently, to observe and study and engage the town and its people to come up with her own informed impressions and welllaidout reportage Sorry, folks, but until someone in the community writes a study this clear, this entertaining, this precise, this thoughtful and this fleet and comprehensible on the subject as well as this cheap and easily obtainable (it was a national bestseller) I'm giving Didion the benefit of the doubt Not that I have any She can write, and anyone who wants to attack her artistry can come at me full bore and enjoy my wrath.The other criticism I've seen on here, which is an ongoing pet peeve of mine, is that the book is allegedly dated, as if a book written at a certain time period, about said time period and the years before it, has no value History books written about history and about the history of their time aren't dated, whatever that even means The fact that things have happened since is not the fault of the author and doesn't reflect on the quality or value of the information therein and its interpretation It's an idiotic criticism, usually forwarded by people who provide no backing or context or any real substance, or who can't articulate a real deficiency in the book Reminding us of bygone times is not dated If you lived in the 1980s and ever had big hair or watched Family Ties, then you're dated! See what I mean? Irrelevant.What Didion gets at, rather unconventionally and in a breathless, whirlwind manner, is the psyche of a town like none other in the nation A town split by class and racial divides andthan half populated by a unique community of exiles in an uneasy peace with their ostensible benefactors an exile community that is even at war with itself, grappling with idea of exile, about the idea of repatriation, about the futility of lost homeland and the passion of restoration In painting her portrait, Didion actually comes to timeless observations, particularly about the American political monster that has not much changed from the time of Reagan to the time of Trump A lot of what she observes in the book remains unchanged and the portents she hints at are eerie This is not just a book about Miami and its Cuban exiles, but also about the nation as a whole, about the way Washington and provincial politics make strange bedfellows who continue down the same misguided road to the same foreign policy disasters In the case of the Cuban exiles, Didion explores how duplicitous Washington has promised, deceived and thrown them under the bus, just as the exiles seem to take it in their stride.Didion finds in the Cuban exiles a vitality, passion and sophistication of thought missing in heartland of America These are some choice passages:Americans, at one and the same time, acted exclusively in their own interests and failed to see their own interests, not only because they were undereducated but because they were by temperament 'naive,' a people who could live and die without ever understanding those nuances of conspiracy and allegience on which, in the Cuban view, the world turned.(pp 7778)Miami was the only American city I had ever visited in which it was not unusual to hear one citizen describe the position of another as 'Falangist,' or as essentially Nasserite.'(pp 128129)Making a choice between terrorism of the Right and terrorism of the Left was incomprehensible to him Maybe he was right As time goes by I think that men who were unable to make choices wereright than those who made them Because there are no clean choices (pp 148149; about a Cuban exile radio host drawing comparison between Albert Camus' political thought and the dilemma of Cuban exiles)I would give roughly the first half of Miami five stars for piquant and fetching insight as it races out of the gate in impressionistic style and then settles into impressive reportage, but would downgrade it a bit for morphing overmuch in the last quarter into an analysis of the modus operandi of the Reagan presidency The conservative attitude in America and its effect on Latin American foreign policy (tied inextricably into the concerns of Miami's Cuban exile community) is necessary for context, but it seems to get too far away from the initial subject of Miami, and the book seems to hang there, ending abruptly.Nonetheless, I learned a lot and would recommend this as goto entre quick primer on an important and littleunderstood, or misunderstood, social, cultural and political American phenomenon.(BTW, I smoked a Padron while reading this book It seemed appropriate).([email protected] 2017)

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