Havana Nocturne by P-HarpercollinsPubl


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									Havana Nocturne
Author: T. J. English

In modern-day Havana, the remnants of the glamorous past are everywhere—the old hotel-casinos,
vintage American cars, and flickering neon signs speak of a bygone era that is widely familiar and often
romanticized, but little understood. In Havana Nocturne, T. J. English offers a riveting, multifaceted true
tale of organized crime, political corruption, roaring nightlife, revolution, and international conflict that
interweaves the dual stories of the Mob in Havana and the event that would overshadow it, the Cuban
Revolution. As the Cuban people labored under a violently repressive regime throughout the 1950s, Mob
leaders Meyer Lansky and Charles "Lucky" Luciano turned their eye to Havana. To them, Cuba was the
ultimate dream, the greatest hope for the future of the American Mob in the post-Prohibition years of
intensified government crackdowns. But when it came time to make their move, it was Lansky, the
brilliant Jewish mobster, who reigned supreme. Having cultivated strong ties with the Cuban government
and in particular the brutal dictator Fulgencio Batista, Lansky brought key mobsters to Havana to put his
ambitious business plans in motion. Before long, the Mob, with Batista's corrupt government in its
pocket, owned the biggest luxury hotels and casinos in Havana, launching an unprecedented tourism
boom complete with the most lavish entertainment, the world's biggest celebrities, the most beautiful
women, and gambling galore. But their dreams collided with those of Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, and
others who would lead the country's disenfranchised to overthrow their corrupt government and its foreign
partners—an epic cultural battle that English captures in all its sexy, decadent, ugly glory. Bringing
together long-buried historical information with English's own research in Havana—including interviews
with the era's key survivors—Havana Nocturne takes readers back to Cuba in the years when it was a
veritable devil's playground for mob leaders. English deftly weaves together the parallel stories of the
Havana Mob—featuring notorious criminals such as Santo Trafficante Jr. and Albert Anastasia—and
Castro's 26th of July Movement in a riveting, up-close look at how the Mob nearly attained its biggest
dream in Havana—and how Fidel Castro trumped it all with the Cuban Revolution.

When Charles Luciano of Naples, Italy, boarded a huge freighter in the autumn of 1946 and headed out to
sea, he had many things on his mind but only one thing that mattered: Cuba. The Pearl of the Antilles
was to be his salvation, the place where he would ascend once again to the top of the most powerful
crime organization in the free world. After a long decade of prison and exile, he deserved nothing
less.Having been deported from the United States just seven months earlier, Luciano did not want to
tempt the fates: his journey from Italy to Cuba was to be a secret known only to his closest criminal
associates. Using an Italian passport and traveling under his birth name—Salvatore Lucania—he set out
on a journey that would take nearly two weeks. The freighter that left Naples in mid-October reached port
first in Caracas, Venezuela. Luciano remained there for a few days and then flew to Rio de Janeiro, where
he stayed for a few more days. After he was certain that he was not under any kind of surveillance,
Luciano flew on to Mexico City and then back to Caracas, where he chartered a private plane for the last
leg of his trip—to Cuba.He landed at the airport in Camagüey, in the interior of the island, on the morning 
of October 29. Arrangements had been made for the famous mobster to deplane on the far side of the
airport. When he stepped out of the plane, Luciano encountered a Cuban government official. The first
words out of his mouth to the official were "Where's Meyer?"Luciano didn't have to wait long to see the
familiar, taciturn grin of his childhood friend and longtime criminal associate. A car arrived from across the
tarmac and stopped near Luciano's private plane. Out stepped Meyer Lansky.Luciano and Lansky hadn't
seen one another in months. Lansky, age forty-four, was trim and tanned, as usual. His 5-foot-4-inch
stature had earned him the nickname "Little Man." It was meant ironically: in his chosen profession as an
underworld entrepreneur who specialized in gambling, Lansky was anything but little. Luciano knew this
to be true because he had partnered with Lansky on many of his most ambitious schemes.Luciano was
taller than Meyer, with a classic Sicilian mug that would forever be described in the press as "swarthy."
At age fifty, his black hair had begun to gray at the temples and his many years in prison had softened
his physique. Luciano spent nearly his entire forties behind bars, and much of the youthful swagger that
had characterized his rise to power in New York City had now been tempered by the monotony and
humiliation of prison life. "Lucky," as Luciano was sometimes known, was looking to get his mojo back,
to reassert his power and rediscover his inner gangster. Cuba would be the place.With Lansky at his
side, the famous mafioso passed through Cuban customs in record time. Lansky was a big shot on the
island, a friend of government officials going all the way to the top. It was Lansky who one month earlier
had sent a cryptic note to Luciano in Italy that read: "December—Hotel Nacional." Luciano knew what it
meant. He and Lansky's plans for Cuba went back decades.Accompanied by a bodyguard and driver, the
two men drove to the nearby Grand Hotel, the most renowned dining establishment in the country's
interior. From the hotel's café terrace, they could see the entire city of Camagüey, with its winding 
streets, bell towers, and terra-cotta rooftops. The lunch was lavish and accompanied by sweet Santiago
rum. Afterward, Luciano and Lansky continued on toward the capital city of Havana.The celebratory lunch
and two-hour drive across the island...
Author Bio
T. J. English
T. J. English is the author of Paddy Whacked and The Westies, both national bestsellers, and Born to
Kill: America's Most Notorious Vietnamese Gang, and the Changing Face of Organized Crime, which was
nominated for an Edgar Award. He has written for Esquire, Playboy, and New York magazine, among
other publications. His screenwriting credits include episodes of the television crime dramas NYPD Blue
and Homicide, for which he was awarded the Humanitas Prize. He lives in New York City.

Sex and drugs and rockin' mambo! Havana Nocturne is a dazzling parade through the Mob's interests in
Cuba. A must for Mob fans everywhere.

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