100 books like Sexual Revolutions in Cuba

By Carrie Hamilton,

Here are 100 books that Sexual Revolutions in Cuba fans have personally recommended if you like Sexual Revolutions in Cuba. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Securing Sex: Morality and Repression in the Making of Cold War Brazil

Natalia Milanesio Author Of Destape: Sex, Democracy, and Freedom in Postdictatorial Argentina

From my list on the history of sexuality in modern Latin America.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian of twentieth-century Argentina and a professor of modern Latin American history currently teaching at the University of Houston. Born and raised in Argentina, I completed my undergraduate studies at the National University of Rosario and moved to the United States in 2000 to continue my education. I received my M.A. in history from New York University and my Ph.D. in history from Indiana University, Bloomington. I have written extensively about gender, working-class history, consumer culture, and sexuality in Argentina. I am the author of Workers Go Shopping in Argentina: The Rise of Popular Consumer Culture and Destape! Sex, Democracy, and Freedom in Postdictatorial Argentina.

Natalia's book list on the history of sexuality in modern Latin America

Natalia Milanesio Why did Natalia love this book?

This book contributes greatly to the global history of the Cold War by showing that “moral technocrats” during the military dictatorship in Brazil equated political subversion with sexual subversion: Anticommunist countersubversion included anxieties about gender, sex, and youth. South American Cold War dictatorships have been traditionally understood as modernizing projects but Cowan complicates the definition by exploring the moral panic, and consequent calls and attempts at repression, related to the sexual revolution, new forms of female sexual expression, and pornography. 

By Benjamin A. Cowan,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Securing Sex as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this history of right-wing politics in Brazil during the Cold War, Benjamin Cowan puts the spotlight on the Cold Warriors themselves. Drawing on little-tapped archival records, he shows that by midcentury, conservatives-individuals and organizations, civilian as well as military-were firmly situated in a transnational network of right-wing cultural activists. They subsequently joined the powerful hardline constituency supporting Brazil's brutal military dictatorship from 1964 to 1985. There, they lent their weight to a dictatorship that, Cowan argues, operationalized a moral panic that conflated communist subversion with manifestations of modernity, coalescing around the crucial nodes of gender and sexuality, particularly in…


Book cover of The Sexual Question: A History of Prostitution in Peru, 1850s-1950s

Natalia Milanesio Author Of Destape: Sex, Democracy, and Freedom in Postdictatorial Argentina

From my list on the history of sexuality in modern Latin America.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian of twentieth-century Argentina and a professor of modern Latin American history currently teaching at the University of Houston. Born and raised in Argentina, I completed my undergraduate studies at the National University of Rosario and moved to the United States in 2000 to continue my education. I received my M.A. in history from New York University and my Ph.D. in history from Indiana University, Bloomington. I have written extensively about gender, working-class history, consumer culture, and sexuality in Argentina. I am the author of Workers Go Shopping in Argentina: The Rise of Popular Consumer Culture and Destape! Sex, Democracy, and Freedom in Postdictatorial Argentina.

Natalia's book list on the history of sexuality in modern Latin America

Natalia Milanesio Why did Natalia love this book?

In this first book in English about the history of sexual commerce in Peru during the state regulation of brothels, Drinot tells a multilayered story of the complex interactions among sex workers, clients, the police, the government, feminists, and physicians. With a remarkable diversity of archival sources, Drinot explores topics that are frequently disregarded in the history of prostitution like the meanings of masculinity and the interaction between race and venereal diseases that, in the case of Lima, resulted in the stigmatization of Chinese migrants and indigenous men as infectious agents.

By Paulo Drinot,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Sexual Question as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The creation of Lima's red light district in 1928 marked the culminating achievement of the promoters of regulation who sought to control the spread of venereal disease by medically policing female prostitutes. Its closure in 1956 was arguably the high point of abolitionism, a transnational movement originating in the 1860s that advocated that regulation was not only ineffective from a public health perspective, but also morally wrong. The Sexual Question charts this cyclic process of regulation and abolition in Peru, uncovering the ideas, policies, and actors shaping the debates on prostitution in Lima and beyond. The history of prostitution, Paulo…


Book cover of Desired States: Sex, Gender, and Political Culture in Chile

Natalia Milanesio Author Of Destape: Sex, Democracy, and Freedom in Postdictatorial Argentina

From my list on the history of sexuality in modern Latin America.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian of twentieth-century Argentina and a professor of modern Latin American history currently teaching at the University of Houston. Born and raised in Argentina, I completed my undergraduate studies at the National University of Rosario and moved to the United States in 2000 to continue my education. I received my M.A. in history from New York University and my Ph.D. in history from Indiana University, Bloomington. I have written extensively about gender, working-class history, consumer culture, and sexuality in Argentina. I am the author of Workers Go Shopping in Argentina: The Rise of Popular Consumer Culture and Destape! Sex, Democracy, and Freedom in Postdictatorial Argentina.

Natalia's book list on the history of sexuality in modern Latin America

Natalia Milanesio Why did Natalia love this book?

Using a truly interdisciplinary approach anchored in queer studies and affect theory, Frazier subverts the common approach to sex as privatized and located in individual subjectivity by looking at desire as a central component of political culture and power. The book explores a variety of Chilean political projects and actors throughout the twentieth century including feminists, the revolutionary left, and the military dictatorship to understand the ways in which both sexual and non-sexual practices and ideologies were intrinsically connected to emotions and ideas of pleasure and to sexualized and gendered discourses and experiences.

By Lessie Jo Frazier,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Desired States as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Desired States challenges the notion that in some cultures, sex and sexuality have become privatized and located in individual subjectivity rather than in public political practices and institutions. Instead, the book contends that desire is a central aspect of political culture. Based on fieldwork and archival research, Frazier explores the gendered and sexualized dynamics of political culture in Chile, an imperialist context, asking how people connect with and become mobilized in political projects in some cases or, in others, become disaffected or are excluded to varying degrees. The book situates the state in a rich and changing context of transnational…


Book cover of Masculinity and Sexuality in Modern Mexico

Natalia Milanesio Author Of Destape: Sex, Democracy, and Freedom in Postdictatorial Argentina

From my list on the history of sexuality in modern Latin America.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian of twentieth-century Argentina and a professor of modern Latin American history currently teaching at the University of Houston. Born and raised in Argentina, I completed my undergraduate studies at the National University of Rosario and moved to the United States in 2000 to continue my education. I received my M.A. in history from New York University and my Ph.D. in history from Indiana University, Bloomington. I have written extensively about gender, working-class history, consumer culture, and sexuality in Argentina. I am the author of Workers Go Shopping in Argentina: The Rise of Popular Consumer Culture and Destape! Sex, Democracy, and Freedom in Postdictatorial Argentina.

Natalia's book list on the history of sexuality in modern Latin America

Natalia Milanesio Why did Natalia love this book?

This is a solid edited volume that has contributions from leading scholars of Mexican history exploring straight and gay sexualities from the nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century in different parts of the country. The chapters examine a wide range of interesting topics including cinema and movie going, public bathhouses, prostitution, elopement, and mariachi culture to untangle how masculinities are historically constructed and to interrogate the concepts of macho and machismo.

By Víctor M. Macías-González (editor), Anne Rubenstein (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Masculinity and Sexuality in Modern Mexico as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Masculinity and Sexuality in Modern Mexico, historians and anthropologists explain how evolving notions of the meaning and practice of manhood have shaped Mexican history. In essays that range from Texas to Oaxaca and from the 1880s to the present, contributors write about file clerks and movie stars, wealthy world travelers and ordinary people whose adventures were confined to a bar in the middle of town. The Mexicans we meet in these essays lived out their identities through extraordinary events--committing terrible crimes, writing world-famous songs, and ruling the nation--but also in everyday activities like falling in love, raising families, getting…


Book cover of Bacardi and the Long Fight for Cuba: The Biography of a Cause

David Carey Jr. Author Of Distilling the Influence of Alcohol: Aguardiente in Guatemalan History

From my list on alcohol in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Why am I passionate about this?

Raised on happy hours on Cape Cod, MA patios with my Irish-American relatives, I long have been fascinated by how alcohol can bring people together and facilitate bonds that traverse both hardship and joy. During my travels and research in Mexico, Chile, Peru, Guatemala, and Ecuador, I observed how alcohol could both render families asunder and unite communities. As addiction makes clear, alcohol could hold tremendous power over individuals. But it also marked the identities of even the most casual drinkers. Throughout my research on other topics—crime, gender, medicine—alcohol consistently emerges as a crucial avenue of inquiry. The books listed below offer innovative and insightful ways of centering alcohol in scholarly narratives. 

David's book list on alcohol in Latin America and the Caribbean

David Carey Jr. Why did David love this book?

I love how Gjelten made me reconsider the ways histories of alcohol and nations were intertwined.

With his study of a rum company that survived the transition from capitalism to communism, the journalist Tom Gjelten observes that Bacardi rum executives advanced legislation designed to undermine their competitors and ultimately forged a brand that shaped Cubans’ and foreigners’ perceptions of the island.

This political and cultural history of Bacardi reveals alcohol’s integral role in forging newly independent nations. More specifically, Gjelten demonstrates how alcohol companies shaped nations.

This study made me think about how types of alcohol—like rum in Cuba, tequila in Mexico, pisco in Chile—were often at the heart of national movements and identities, and could become symbols of national pride. 

By Tom Gjelten,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Bacardi and the Long Fight for Cuba as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this widely hailed book, NPR correspondent Tom Gjelten fuses the story of the Bacardi family and their famous rum business with Cuba's tumultuous experience over the last 150 years to produce a deeply entertaining historical narrative. The company Facundo Bacardi launched in Cuba in 1862 brought worldwide fame to the island, and in the decades that followed his Bacardi descendants participated in every aspect of Cuban life. With his intimate account of their struggles and adventures across five generations, Gjelten brings to life the larger story of Cuba's fight for freedom, its tortured relationship with America, the rise of…


Book cover of The Quality of Home Runs: The Passion, Politics, and Language of Cuban Baseball

Gregg Bocketti Author Of The Invention of the Beautiful Game: Football and the Making of Modern Brazil

From my list on sports in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Why am I passionate about this?

For almost thirty years, I have studied and tried to understand Latin America and the Caribbean. As a historian I have worked with manuscripts and newspapers and books, in archives and libraries and private collections, but I’ve learned my most important lessons elsewhere: on the baseball diamond in Holguín, Cuba, at pick-up cricket matches in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, and in soccer stadiums in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, and Buenos Aires. These books help give us a sense of the power of such places, the power of sports to reveal the region, and as such they’re a great place to start to understand it. 

Gregg's book list on sports in Latin America and the Caribbean

Gregg Bocketti Why did Gregg love this book?

Naturally, when we think of sports in Latin America we first think of the region’s great athletes, from Pelé to Roberto Clemente, from Lionel Messi to Albert Pujols. But baseball and soccer players do not make sports meaningful on their own; many others – owners, sponsors, politicians, fans – make them what they are. This is the essential insight that guides Thomas Carter’s anthropology of Cuban baseball. He acknowledges the important role of the Communist regime in shaping the game, but he shows convincingly that the game belongs to its fans, for it is their passion that makes baseball important to Cuba, and it is their arguments about the game which make it a site for the negotiation of what it means to be Cuban.

By Thomas F. Carter,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Quality of Home Runs as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In parks and cafes, homes and stadium stands, Cubans talk baseball. Thomas F. Carter contends that when they are analyzing and debating plays, games, teams, and athletes, Cubans are exchanging ideas not just about baseball but also about Cuba and cubanidad, or what it means to be Cuban. The Quality of Home Runs is Carter's lively ethnographic exploration of the interconnections between baseball and Cuban identity. Suggesting that baseball is in many ways an apt metaphor for cubanidad, Carter points out aspects of the sport that resonate with Cuban social and political life: the perpetual tension between risk and security,…


Book cover of Beatriz Allende: A Revolutionary Life in Cold War Latin America

Eric Zolov Author Of The Walls of Santiago: Social Revolution and Political Aesthetics in Contemporary Chile

From my list on Latin American culture and politics in the 1960s-70s.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been fascinated by the political aesthetics and political ferment of the 1960s. As someone born in the 1960s but not of the 1960’s generation, this has allowed for a certain “critical distance” in the ways I approach this period. I'm especially fascinated by the global circulation of cultural protest forms from the 1960s, what the historian Jeremy Suri called a “language of dissent.” The term Global Sixties is now used to explore this evident simultaneity of “like responses across disparate contexts,” such as finding jipis in Chile. In our book, The Walls of Santiago, we locate various examples of what we term the “afterlives” of Global Sixties protest signage. 

Eric's book list on Latin American culture and politics in the 1960s-70s

Eric Zolov Why did Eric love this book?

Tanya Harmer is a noted diplomatic historian who focuses on the left-wing presidency of Salvador Allende in Chile during the early 1970s. Allende, as most people know, was violently overthrown in a CIA-backed coup d’etat in 1973. That event ushered in 15 years of brutal dictatorship and transformed Chile’s experiment with democratic socialism into the first example of neoliberalism in Latin America and the world. Harmer’s biography of Allende’s youngest daughter, Beatriz, is a brilliant, intimate portrait of a young activist torn between loyalty to her Socialist (and non-violent) father and the appeal of Cuba’s revolutionary fervor, with its emphasis on violent insurrection against the old order. It is a tragedy, much like the 1960s itself.

By Tanya Harmer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Beatriz Allende as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This biography of Beatriz Allende (1942-1977) - revolutionary doctor and daughter of Chile's socialist president, Salvador Allende - portrays what it means to live, love, and fight for change. Inspired by the Cuban Revolution, Beatriz and her generation drove political campaigns, university reform, public health programs, internationalist guerrilla insurgencies, and government strategies. Centering Beatriz's life within the global contours of the Cold War era, Tanya Harmer exposes the promises and paradoxes of the revolutionary wave that swept through Latin America in the long 1960s.

Drawing on exclusive access to Beatriz's private papers, as well as firsthand interviews, Harmer connects the…


Book cover of Castro's Secrets: Cuban Intelligence, The CIA, and the Assassination of John F. Kennedy

Lachlan Page Author Of Magical Disinformation

From my list on spy books set in Latin America.

Why am I passionate about this?

I lived in Latin America for six years, working as a red cross volunteer, a volcano hiking guide, a teacher, and an extra in a Russian TV series (in Panama). Having travelled throughout the region and returning regularly, I’m endlessly fascinated by the culture, history, politics, languages, and geography. Parallel to this, I enjoy reading and writing about the world of international espionage. Combining the two, and based on my own experience, I wrote my novel, Magical Disinformation, a spy novel set in Colombia. While there is not a huge depth of spy novels set in Latin America, I’ve chosen five of my favourites spy books set in the region.

Lachlan's book list on spy books set in Latin America

Lachlan Page Why did Lachlan love this book?

Intelligence expert, professor, and former National Intelligence Officer for Latin America, Dr. Brian Latell, offers insight into Cuban Intelligence and their—largely—successful infiltration of the US security apparatus. Based on interviews with high-level defectors, the book delves into Castro’s mindset with assassination plots and uncover operations emanating from both sides of the Florida Straits as well as a behind-the-scenes look at some key events of the Cold War.

It’s very interesting to learn more about Castro’s mindset beyond the news headlines and how he managed to maintain power after the revolution. However, the real bombshell is an anecdote given by a former Cuban radio operator during the 1960s. I won’t give anything away, but it certainly adds fodder to the JFK assassination, giving one something to think about without falling into a deluge of conspiracy theories. Compelling reading from a true expert in the area.

By Brian Latell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Castro's Secrets as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Published to glowing reviews, thisriveting narrative takes us back to when the Cuban Revolution was young and offers a new and surprising look at Fidel Castro. Drawing on interviews with high-level defectors from Cuban intelligence, Cuba expert Brian Latell creates a vivid narrative that chronicles Castro's crimes from his university days through nearly 50 years in power. As Cuba's supreme spymaster Fidel built up an intelligence system that became one of best and most aggressive anywhere. Latell argues that the CIA grossly underestimated the Cubans' extraordinary abilities to run moles and double agents and to penetrate the highest levels of…


Book cover of True Believer: Inside the Investigation and Capture of Ana Montes, Cuba's Master Spy

James M. Olson Author Of To Catch a Spy: The Art of Counterintelligence

From my list on counterintelligence.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m passionate about spying. It was an absolute privilege for me to have been able to spend my life in the shadows, so to speak. I was undercover my entire career doing espionage and covert action operations for our country and the CIA. I discovered very early on that I had a particular fascination for the arcane and Byzantine subspecialty of counterintelligence. It’s hard to describe the exhilaration I felt when we nabbed an American traitor and brought him or her to justice. It doesn’t get any better than that.   

James' book list on counterintelligence

James M. Olson Why did James love this book?

This book is the best example I can come up with of how good counterintelligence must be patient and tenacious. Ana Montes was the senior analyst on Cuba for the Defense Intelligence Agency---and also a spy for Cuban intelligence. Scott Carmichael led the DIA’s investigative team, which overcame countless delays and roadblocks to get the job done and eventually caught her. This was US counterintelligence at its best.

By Scott W. Carmichael,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked True Believer as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ana Montes appeared to be a model employee of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), advancing quickly through the ranks to become its top analyst on Cuban affairs.

But for sixteen years Montes sent Castro some of America's most closely guarded secrets and at the same time influenced what the United States thought it knew about Cuba. She is the only member of the U.S. intelligence community ever convicted of espionage for the Cuban government, yet her arrest ten days after 9/11 went largely unnoticed.

This book calls attention to the grave damage Montes inflicted on U.S. security--Carmichael even implicates her…


Book cover of Jose Marti Reader: Writings on the Americas

Carrie Gibson Author Of El Norte: The Epic and Forgotten Story of Hispanic North America

From my list on Hispanic writers everyone should know.

Why am I passionate about this?

Carrie Gibson is a London-based writer who grew up in the US and spends as much time as she can in Latin America and the Caribbean. She started out as a journalist, working at UK newspapers, including the Guardian and the Observer, before diving into a PhD and historical research on European colonialism and its legacy in the Americas. She is the author of two books and continues to contribute to media outlets in the UK and US.

Carrie's book list on Hispanic writers everyone should know

Carrie Gibson Why did Carrie love this book?

José Martí was a poet and writer who became the leader of Cuba’s final independence movement from Spain. He died in battle in 1895 and is the island’s best-known hero – images and statues of him can be found in almost every town in Cuba. He spent much of his life in exile, including in the United States. He was a prolific journalist, and his essay ‘Nuestra América’ (Our America, 1881) is one of his most-cited works. His observations about the US and the rest of the Americas were astute, and his work continues to offer insights that are applicable to the present day.

By Jose Marti,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Jose Marti Reader as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


“[Martí] added a social agenda to the historic program of national liberation and instantly converted a movement devoted to the establishment of a new nation into a force dedicated to shaping a new society. Martí transformed rebellion into revolution. . . . Like a master weaver, Martí pulled together all the separate threads of Cuban discontent—social, economic, political, racial, historical—and wove them into a radical movement of enormous force.”—Louis A. Pérez Jr, author of José Martí in the United States
 
“Oh Cuba! . . . the blood of Martí was not yours alone; it belonged to an entire race, to…


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