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Cuba Libre by Elmore Leonard

Cuba Libre (original 1998; edition 2002)

by Elmore Leonard (Author)

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9281217,929 (3.42)13
A novel on the Spanish-American War featuring adventurer Ben Tyler, an Arizona horse dealer. Just as he arrives in Cuba with a shipment of guns and horses, war breaks out. To get his money, he is sucked into fighting between Spain, the U.S. and Cuban revolutionaries seeking independence from both.
Title:Cuba Libre
Authors:Elmore Leonard (Author)
Info:HarperTorch (2002), 432 pages
Collections:Your library

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Cuba Libre by Elmore Leonard (1998)


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Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
For its first two-thirds, this historical thriller, set in the Spanish-American War, is my favorite of many good Leonard books. His formula -- trickster who's not as smart as he thinks he is gets in trouble with even dumber guy, then allies with beautiful third party to swindle the highly competent villains -- is so familiar by now that the variations really stand out, and in this case he's made a serious and convincing attempt to explore the roots of the America that his 20th-century lowlifes inhabit. And then the last third of the book is a big Hollywood chase scene in which the villains are picked off in the usual way; oh well. ( )
  elibishop173 | Oct 11, 2021 |
This book is set in 1899 as War breaks out between USA and Spain in Cuba.
Ben Tyler is trying his luck selling Horses and Guns in Cuba.
He meets a few different characters along the way. Some good some bad.
He ends up in jail a lovely young Lady called Amelia with help from her rich boyfriends assistant hatch a plan to free Ben from jail and also fake her kidnapping to receive $45,000 ransom money.
There is a big battle, Police are involved and the War has now started. Amelia and Ben get double crossed, lots of other people are after the money.
Amelia and Ben do get a little bit of money and decide they want to stay in Cuba.

This was different from the books I usually read was a bit long winded and political. ( )
  Daftboy1 | May 26, 2020 |
One his best. If you're wary or thinking, "Elmore Leonard . . . historical fiction . . . what?" don't panic. It's Elmore Leonard through and through. Mantanzas, Cuba could be Detroit and the characters all talk, act, and think like they do in his mainland American settings. This one has terrific dialogue as well as terrific pauses ("He thought about that and looked at her again") and six or seven characters trying to think one step ahead of each other. I read this when it was first published and again, long after I had forgotten the machinations of the plot or who-wanted-what. If this is filmed, I hope the producer is smart enough to get Ian McShane to play Boudreaux and Timothy Oliphant to play Tyler--a Deadwood reunion that would be just fine. Wholly enjoyable and not a false phrase in the whole book. ( )
  Stubb | Aug 28, 2018 |
Can't believe how long it's been since I've read an Elmore Leonard. Not since Out Of Sight came out, I think. Wow. I used to eat these up, and now I remember why. Funny, cool, savage, wild and actually kinda romantic, helped in particular by the setting, this is a deliciously enjoyable read. ( )
  Nigel_Quinlan | Oct 21, 2015 |
This is a cowboy/western book, set in historical Cuba in 1898. The protagonist, Ben Tyler, is taking horses as a cover for smuggling guns to Cuba, and arrives shortly after the sinking of the battleship Maine. He meets various bad guys (Guardia Civil) and a sugar mill plantation owner, along with American newspapermen (it is the time of yellow journalism coverage of Cuba), and the mistress, Amelia Brown, of the plantation owner. Tyler quickly ends up in prison for killing someone, is rescued with the aid of Amelia, and then they are off to make their fortune in the rough-and-tumble, deadly war time effort with Cuban insurgents and Spanish soldiers and Americans soldiers all fighting each other.

Ben Tyler is good with guns, killing, and horses, but also a former unsuccessful bank robber and overall rather dim-witted. Amelia Brown is more intelligent, but nonetheless falls in love with Tyler; she is primarily an opportunist interested in fame, excitement, and money. The Spanish plantation owner is an interesting character, but the Cuban characters are poorly developed, even though they play major roles in the book. As it turns out, all the main characters in the book are motivated primarily by money, not by idealism or patriotism.

The reading is pleasant enough. The plot starts off nicely, but definitely languishes after the initial third of the book. The character development is adequate but not great. One of the major pluses is the historical aspects. Many real places, people, and events show up. Even some of the small details are historical too, such as the boat "Vamoose", which was a real filibuster smuggling boat used to smuggle weapons into Cuba at that time. ( )
  mathrocks | Sep 25, 2011 |
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For my old friend Allan Hayes
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Tyler arrived with the horses February eighteenth, three days after the battleship Maine blew up in Havana harbor.
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A novel on the Spanish-American War featuring adventurer Ben Tyler, an Arizona horse dealer. Just as he arrives in Cuba with a shipment of guns and horses, war breaks out. To get his money, he is sucked into fighting between Spain, the U.S. and Cuban revolutionaries seeking independence from both.

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Average: (3.42)
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