Miami by Joan Didion
First published by Simon And Schuster in America in October 1987.
My 1980s read for the 2015-16 Goodreads / Bookcrossing Decade Challenge.
Where to buy this book:Buy from independent booksellers via Abebooks
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How I got this book:
Borrowed from my OH
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is a surprising portrait of the pastel city, a masterly study of Cuban immigration and exile, and a sly account of vile moments in the Cold War. Miami may be the sunniest place in America but this is Didion's darkest book, in which she explores American efforts to overthrow the Castro regime, Miami's civic corruption and racist treatment of its large black community.
Having learned a lot about California and its history from my previous Joan Didion book, Where I Was From, I hoped for similar enlightenment by reading Miami. This book looks at twenty years in the Florida city, from the 1960s to the 1980s, but instead of the wide-ranging information imparted about California, Didion seems to concentrate almost entirely on the political in Miami. I do now have a basic grasp of what the Bay Of Pigs was all about and my overall understanding of the Cuban exile population's predicament in Miami has improved a little. However, I struggled to keep up with all the subterfuge and double-speak, and the sheer number revolutionary and counter-revolutionary organisations that Didion namechecks is bewildering. Her writing is insightful throughout, but this definitely isn't the best book for a beginner to Central American politics of the late twentieth century!
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