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The Domino Diaries : My Decade Boxing with Olympic Champions and Chasing Hemingway's Ghost in the Last Days of Castro's Cuba
by Brin-Jonathan Butler


Overview -

A powerful and lively work of immersive journalism, Brin-Jonathan Butler's story of his time chasing the American dream through Cuba

Whether he's hustling his way into Mike Tyson's mansion for an interview, betting his life savings on a boxing match, becoming romantically entangled with one of Fidel Castro's granddaughters, or simply manufacturing press credentials to go where he wants-Brin-Jonathan Butler has always been the "act first, ask permission later" kind of journalist.  Read more...


 
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More About The Domino Diaries by Brin-Jonathan Butler
 
 
 
Overview

A powerful and lively work of immersive journalism, Brin-Jonathan Butler's story of his time chasing the American dream through Cuba

Whether he's hustling his way into Mike Tyson's mansion for an interview, betting his life savings on a boxing match, becoming romantically entangled with one of Fidel Castro's granddaughters, or simply manufacturing press credentials to go where he wants-Brin-Jonathan Butler has always been the "act first, ask permission later" kind of journalist.
This book is the culmination of Butler's decade spent in the trenches of Havana, trying to understand a culture perplexing to Westerners: one whose elite athletes regularly forgo multimillion-dollar opportunities to stay in Cuba and box for their country, while living in penury. Butler's fascination with this distinctly Cuban idealism sets him off on a remarkable journey, training with, befriending, and interviewing the champion boxers that Cuba seems to produce more than any other country.
In the process, though, Butler gets to know the landscape of the exhilaratingly warm Cuban culture-and starts to question where he feels most at home. In the tradition of Michael Lewis and John Jeremiah Sullivan, Butler is a keen and humane storyteller, and the perfect guide for this riotous tour through the streets of Havana.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781250043702
  • ISBN-10: 1250043700
  • Publisher: Picador USA
  • Publish Date: June 2015
  • Page Count: 304
  • Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.8 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.8 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Biography & Autobiography > Sports - General
Books > Biography & Autobiography > Personal Memoirs
Books > Sports & Recreation > Boxing

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2015-04-27
  • Reviewer: Staff

In this striking memoir, writer and filmmaker Butler examines his bittersweet love affair with Cuba through the lens of boxing. Butler, a trained fighter himself, first visited the island to write about the national boxing team, which has grabbed 67 Olympic medals since 1968 (in a country with a smaller population than the New York metro area). As Butler pursues boxers, he finds himself immersed in the chaos and contradictions of Cuban society: shortages, sex work, police surveillance, desperate immigration, and the citizens’ sardonic patriotism, humor, and endless creativity. Shuttling between the stories of two of the greatest Cuban boxing champions—one who left (Guillermo Rigondeaux Ortiz) and one who stayed (Teófilo Stevenson—Butler delineates the costs of defying Uncle Sam for a half century. Cuba lies at the heart of the book, but Butler’s quest also leads him from his hometown of Vancouver to Mike Tyson’s Vegas mansion, an affair with a prostitute in Madrid, and a boxing match in Tijuana. More artist than journalist, Butler approaches his material slantwise, and much of his prose is fluid and searching. As he watches Havana’s labyrinth of jury-rigged 1950s cars and decaying mansions slowly succumb to the market economy, Butler makes clear that this is not an unmixed blessing. At times, Butler can lapse into abstraction and his hardboiled romanticism can become too familiar, but he has produced a book worthy of Cuba’s beauty and sorrow. (June)

 
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