The Island That Dared: Journeys in Cuba

The Island That Dared Journeys in Cuba Follows a family holiday in Cuba with Dervla Murphy her daughter and granddaughters as they trek into the hills and along the coast camping out on empty beaches beneath the stars and relishing the u

  • Title: The Island That Dared: Journeys in Cuba
  • Author: Dervla Murphy
  • ISBN: 9781906011468
  • Page: 365
  • Format: Paperback
  • Follows a family holiday in Cuba with Dervla Murphy, her daughter and granddaughters as they trek into the hills and along the coast, camping out on empty beaches beneath the stars and relishing the ubiquitous Cuban hospitality A joyful start of a fully fledged quest to understand the unique society created by the Cuban Revolution.

    One thought on “The Island That Dared: Journeys in Cuba”

    1. There is nothing nicer than walking out of the library with a fabulous-looking book by your favourite author. You walk home at a fast trot, looking forward to putting your feet up on the table with a strong cup of coffee and this gem-to-be read on your lap. That was exactly how I felt with this book.What a shock then to decide, about a sixth of the way through, that I would have to stop reading the book, and return it to the library! The first part of the book was thoroughly enjoyable, a lovely [...]

    2. I have always admired Dervla Murphy’s travel writing. She’s as tough as an old boot: putting up with, and even searching out, conditions that would make a lesser traveller shrivel. And she didn’t change her style when she started taking her daughter along. Now in her seventies, she’s travelling with her three granddaughters as well. The first third of the book is about the five of them toughing it out through the lesser-known parts of Cuba, and it is as good and entertaining as her earli [...]

    3. I have to admit I did not particularly like the book. It often read like a pro-Castro/ anti-US gospel. I am a political scientist myself and I am used to reading political commentary. However, Murphy's point of view was far too biased as far as I am concerned. She is a passionate writer and one has to give her credit for that, but when one makes political analysis he/she has to be very careful. Politics is complicated and it does not make sense to reduce it down to a black or white opinion about [...]

    4. Dervla Murphy has always been a remarkable traveller but becomes even more notable as she continues her intrepid walks (if no longer so many bike rides) well into her ‘third age’. This book of her journeys in Cuba, undertaken when she was in her mid-seventies, is full of excursions on foot for several days along mountain trails, with poor maps and often non-existent accommodation, that would defeat most younger travellers. She delights at sleeping in the open air in her ‘flea bag’, and a [...]

    5. Here, Irish travel writer Dervla Murphy makes three trips to Cuba while in her mid-seventies. Murphy's approach is to speak with everyone she can and record what they say. She's interested in the people and how they tell the country's story, and this produces a varied set of perspectives.The way the author declines to dress her account up in drama, unlike many travel authors, is worthy of praise - but it also made quite a long account feel a bit dull in places, hence the three star rating. Murph [...]

    6. Dervla Murphy describes three journeys in Cuba in 2005, 2006 and 2007. Because of her character and the way she travels she meets and/or makes friends with lots of people from different backgrounds. This gives you amazing insight into the way how people live. As always, she's curious and (most of the time) very respectful.In this book I had to struggle to keep up though. I think I was lacking basic knowledge of the history and politics of Cuba and Dervla likes to go into detail, so she's lost me [...]

    7. I was really looking forward to this book, having been to Cuba last year, I was interested in what other people thought and how they felt. It started well, however, sadly I think only a third of the book is original material by the author. She copies lengthy pieces from other books, historical accounts and diaries in a desperate attempt (it seems) to get the word count up. If I wanted to read such lengthy pieces of copying, I would read those books directly so I can interpret them myself. I woul [...]

    8. An account of independent travel in Cuba in 2003, 2005 and 2007 as well as an extremely detailed account of its history. The best portions are the descriptions of everyday life and conversations with Cubans since people seem to open to Dervla Murphy since she is so 'of the people' herself. This gives the reader real insight into the thinking and way of life of the people who have lived through 'the Revolution' and continue to live in Cuba. Most interesting, especially for Americans, is learning [...]

    9. Can' finish this book,the story with the three kids is true travel and better,the rest have too much politics.

    10. I very much enjoyed this account of various trips around Cuba. Clearly Dervla Murphy had done her research well, and there is a lot of interesting contextual and historical information interwoven with her experiences. She does not hide her feelings or thinking about American influence in Cuba (bad) and the impact of the revolution (good), and I was amused at one point to read her criticisms of another author whose work was driven by his political perspective. Pot, kettle? If you can put that sli [...]

    11. I have tremendously enjoyed a couple of Dervla Murphy's previous books and settled myself in for a good read with transcendent descriptions and delightful adventures far off the beaten path. I was rewarded for the first 109 pages as Dervla traveled with her daughter and three young granddaughters deep into parts of Cuba where tourists never venture. But the remaining 300+ pages covered Dervla's deep admiration of Fidel Castro and her anger with the US. I have to admit that I was shocked by some [...]

    12. Reading this book had some similarities to running a marathon or a very long bike ride. The first bit goes really quickly and you feel fresh and enthusiastic, then you slow down and eventually it all becomes very hard work and you just want it to end. The first section, where Murphy visits Cuba with here daughter and three young grand-children is absolutely charming, fun to read and you have to admire the adventurous nature of the three generations. Later she visits on here own and although the [...]

    13. Take one fiercely outspoken, slightly irascible Irish grandmother and transport her to Cuba with a daughter and two young granddaughters for an entertaining and enlightening trek around Cuba in the mid-2000s. The first part of this book is a wonderful companion to any Cuban holiday, as Dervla Murphy travels off the beaten track and sees much more of the real Cuba than your average tourist. The book is well written and entertaining, though the second half gradually transforms from an adventurous [...]

    14. Can a journalist be impartial? Is it fair to extoll the virtues of local rules and then go out of your way to flaunt them? Like many things, the answer is often unclear. A self-declared Fidelista, she decribes an interesting and complex Cuba. The U.S or at least the CIA and corporate interests come out with no moral high ground. I found this quote from Marti in 1885 particularly striking, "Capitalists in exchange for laws that are favorable to their undertakings, support the party that offers th [...]

    15. On page 240 and making a slow but steady dogpaddle through this travel writer's personal adventures and researched historical facts during her three visits to Cuba in 2005, 2006 and 2007. She strives for authentic reporting which does not always make for an exciting read. I am stopping at page 280 of this 400-page travelogue. I admire the pluck of this adventurous older woman who often backpacks solo, walking great distances on serendipitous routes, enjoying a chance to swim, requiring few ameni [...]

    16. I have read most of Dervla Murphy's books, but I must say to me this is the best of of the lot. Especially when she travelled on her own. Yes, it was interesting with the family in tow.But the research and impartial views shown in her book, makes me understand so much more of Castro-ism, and the history behind that island. I am so hoping that the ideals of it all will live with Castro's passing on and with the other politicians. Even though I know materialism and consumerism are great temptation [...]

    17. I was delighted to read about Cuba from the viewpoint of a left leaning, widely traveled and read woman. If even a part of what Dervla reports is true, most of what we read about Cuba is crap. I found her observations of local participatory democracy revealing--it seems that the Cubans have a great deal of control over many of the institutions that everyone deals with on a day-to-day basis. Institutions that average Americans have virtually no control over in America. I was unaware of the achiev [...]

    18. I might be being a bit mean only giving this 3 stars, but for me there was too much history/politics. I loved her anecdotes of travelling round Cuba, but unfortunately I'm not sufficiently interested to read more history than is in guidebooks.I've been to Cuba twice and therefore could picture the places she talked about. Suspect someone who hasn't been to Cuba and not a history/politics afficiando might struggle

    19. Before reading the book all i knew about Cuba was rom, cigars and Fidel. The book is in no case a guide book. But it does give you an overview of Cuba's history and stories you might never read about or hear if not interacting with locals. Any way it was a great read before and during the trip to Cuba :)

    20. Not her best. Too many history and politics lessons and not enough of the personal encounters that make her other books great. Still an interesting portrait of a country in change. Hope to see more of the granddaughters in future books.

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