SOCIAL SCIENCES

North of Havana: The Untold Story of Dirty Politics, Secret Diplomacy, and the Trial of the Cuban Five

New Pr. Jun. 2019. 288p. notes. index. ISBN 9781620974469. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9781620974476. POL SCI
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Readers of international intrigue and diplomatic history such as Giles Whittell’s Bridge of Spies will appreciate this survey of the fascinating and often bizarre case of the Cuban Five, as retold by attorney Garbus, who joined the proceedings on appeal. The Cuban Five were a group of Cuban spies arrested and charged in the 1996 shooting of four anti-Castro activists and pilots who had purposely invaded Cuban airspace, flying from Florida. The five were quickly charged, convicted, and sentenced. Garbus arrived on the case in an attempt to appeal the rulings and here relates a twisted tale of legal drama, prisoner exchange negotiations, and conspiracy moving forward in time all the way to the Obama administration. What begins as a riveting account of a thrilling, cloak-and-dagger espionage case ends with personal and political observations about current U.S.-Cuba relations.

VERDICT This is a quick and vivid read, brimming with political intrigue and lessons about what can happen when law and public opinion are used for political ends.

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