Pleasure Island: Tourism and Temptation in Cuba

Front Cover
U of Nebraska Press, Jan 1, 1999 - History - 239 pages
Pleasure Island explores the tourism industry in Cuba between 1920 and 1960, as international travel ceased to be primarily a privilege of the wealthy, and incorporated the world's growing middle class. Rosalie Schwartz examines tourists' changing ideas of leisure and recreation, as well as the response of a colonial-era Spanish city turned fleshpot and endless cabaret. The tourism industry mushroomed in and around Havana after 1920, as hundreds of thousands of North Americans transformed the city in collaboration with a local business and political elite. The Depression, exacerbated by a bloody revolution in 1933, plunged the tourism industry into a downward spiral; its steady comeback after World War II, and Mafia-influenced 1950s heyday, ended abruptly when Fidel Castro came to power in 1959. The tourist stream was diverted to Cuba's Caribbean neighbors, where it remains. This work is a history of a very idiosyncratic industry, as well as a study of mass tourism's influence on the behavior, attitudes, and cultures of two politically linked but diverse nations. Rosalie Schwartz is a former lecturer in the Department of History at San Diego State University. She is the author of Across the Rio to Freedom and Lawless Liberators: Political Banditry and Cuban Independence, which won the 1990 Hubert B. Herring Book Award of the Pacific Coast Council on Latin American Studies.

What people are saying - Write a review

Pleasure Island: tourism and temptation in Cuba

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

The first of these works is a guidebook--and an excellent one at that. Baker, who has traveled extensively in Cuba and written other guidebooks and magazine articles, gives a general introduction to ... Read full review


The Road to Cuba
The Action behind the Scrim
Tempests and Tourists Dreamers and Schemers
Manufactured Traditions and Cultural Transformations
sty Intermission in Cuba and a Sea Change in Tourism
Act 2 Curtain Up
The Mafia
reyna The Tourist Stage as Rebel Battleground
No Peace No Pleasure No Tourists
The Phoenix Rises

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1999)

Rosalie Schwartz taught history at San Diego State University and is the author of Lawless Liberators: Political Banditry and Cuban Independence, winner of the 1990 Hubert Herring Book Prize.

Bibliographic information