This slender volume takes on three interrelated subjects over a tumultuous half-century of Cuban history. The focus is clearly on drugs, as the author acknowledges in stating that the chapters on smuggling and gambling are included as “part of a wider trajectory of vice” (p. 14). Even so, its coverage of Cuban drug running makes this a unique contribution to the fields of Latin American history, U.S. foreign relations, and narcotics studies.

The most engaging aspects of the study are the vivid details it integrates mainly from two sources: the Archivo Nacional de Cuba, and the files of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, the forerunner of the Drug Enforcement Agency, contained in Records Group 170 of the U.S. National Archives. These documents show the complicity of steamship companies from many different nations in transporting drugs to Cuba, and reveal webs of conspiracy involving a wide international array of actors. The...

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