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Cuba ’62 : Preludes to a World Crisis

Hollis, Richard, Tennant, JS
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Five Leaves Publications
Published: September 29, 2022
ISBN: 9781910170991
many colour and B&W photographs
Country of publication: United Kingdom


The thirteen-day stand-off between the US and USSR in October 1962 was the most dangerous period of the Cold War. Richard Hollis chanced to be in Cuba as the Soviet troops were arriving, documenting his experiences with a camera, through diaries and letters. Months before, the Spanish novelist Juan Goytisolo had toured the island writing the journals he was to turn into a book. The Cuban film-maker Tomás Gutiérrez Alea’s masterpiece, Memories of Underdevelopment, is set in 1962 and conjures perfectly the tense atmosphere of that time. Half a century later, JS Tennant visited several of the former missile bases in Cuba, collecting oral histories and photographs. This book provides the reader with a basic political context to the Missile Crisis. More than this, Cuba ’62 attempts to conjure that year through juxtapositions of text and image, past and present; it is a love song to cinema and photography and an elegy for a Cuba that no longer is.

Richard Hollis is a designer and writer on design history based in London. At the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis he was one of only a few Westerners in Cuba. JS Tennant has been visiting Cuba regularly for twenty years. He was one of the first foreigners to visit the former Soviet missile sites from 1962.

Cuba ’62 is timely and distinguished publishing from Five Leaves Publications in Nottingham, a UNESCO City of Literature. Uniquely illustrated and beautifully printed, it evokes Cuba’s hopes in the early years of its vibrant Revolution.’ – The Spokesman (Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation)

‘A riveting account, enhanced by smart typography and artwork’ – Miranda France, TLS

‘Elegiacally evoke[s] a country and a world since greatly changed’ – Brian Maye, Irish Times


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