Book review – Red Heat: Conspiracy, Murder, and the Cold War in the Caribbean by Alex von Tunzelmann
Epic, sweeping & meticulously researched saga of the tumultuous 20th century history of the Caribbean islands. Alex puts in lot of hard work in writing the history for her readers. And it shows. Also I love the fact that she is able to bring out the human nature of the historical figures, instead of just making them dry caricatures. We are all human and sometimes it best to understand history within the context of the frailties and pitfalls of human nature. The sequence describing the tantrum thrown by Papa Doc when his daughter went off with her disgraced husband is an excellent example of this type of historical narrative.
My only grudge is that this is really 3 books combined in one – History of Cuba, that of Haiti & of the Dominican Republic. Although intertwined, each would have made a compelling narrative on its own. I felt towards the end not enough justice was done to telling the story of Castro & to some extent Che. At one point I got on Netflix and watched a documentary on Castro which gave me lot more information.
That doesn’t take away at all from the compelling nature of this book. It should be required reading for any student of Caribbean history. And a pleasurable, informative and fascinating read for any history buff.
The audible narrative is also pleasant and the reader captures the spirit of the book well, along with her emphasis on French pronunciations which makes it even more interesting.
Thanks Alex for another wonderful historical read (following Indian summer)