[[ Free Best ]] MiamiAuthor Joan Didion – Multi-channel.co

Moments of this were fascinating, but on the whole this book felt so scattered and unfocused that, by the end, when I think I was supposed to be feeling a rising tension, what I actually felt was relief that it was over. This one took me a while to get into The narrative, if you will, is non linear, opaque, and often confusing and contradictory sounding But that s the point Didion stirs a tropical cauldron of politics, actions, laments, lies and reversals The end result is a heat dream snapshot of a Miami often closer culturally to Cuba than America. This was a thrift store offer I couldn t refuse a Joan Didion book I d never heard of for a nickel But did I really care to read her impressionistic musings on the city of Miami as of the mid 1980s, when this was penned and the complicated influence history of the Cuban exile community on it Maybe not, but Didion hooked me right off the bat.Reading the comments of some others here, I find some predictable grousing about Didion being as a sort of female, white privileged, racist interloper thus inherently unqualified, evidently, to observe and study and engage the town and its people to come up with her own informed impressions and well laid out reportage Sorry, folks, but until someone in the community writes a study this clear, this entertaining, this precise, this thoughtful and this fleet and comprehensible on the subject as well as this cheap and easily obtainable it was a national bestseller I m giving Didion the benefit of the doubt Not that I have any She can write, and anyone who wants to attack her artistry can come at me full bore and enjoy my wrath.The other criticism I ve seen on here, which is an ongoing pet peeve of mine, is that the book is allegedly dated, as if a book written at a certain time period, about said time period and the years before it, has no value History books written about history and about the history of their time aren t dated, whatever that even means The fact that things have happened since is not the fault of the author and doesn t reflect on the quality or value of the information therein and its interpretation It s an idiotic criticism, usually forwarded by people who provide no backing or context or any real substance, or who can t articulate a real deficiency in the book Reminding us of bygone times is not dated If you lived in the 1980s and ever had big hair or watched Family Ties, then you re dated See what I mean Irrelevant.What Didion gets at, rather unconventionally and in a breathless, whirlwind manner, is the psyche of a town like none other in the nation A town split by class and racial divides and than half populated by a unique community of exiles in an uneasy peace with their ostensible benefactors an exile community that is even at war with itself, grappling with idea of exile, about the idea of repatriation, about the futility of lost homeland and the passion of restoration In painting her portrait, Didion actually comes to timeless observations, particularly about the American political monster that has not much changed from the time of Reagan to the time of Trump A lot of what she observes in the book remains unchanged and the portents she hints at are eerie This is not just a book about Miami and its Cuban exiles, but also about the nation as a whole, about the way Washington and provincial politics make strange bedfellows who continue down the same misguided road to the same foreign policy disasters In the case of the Cuban exiles, Didion explores how duplicitous Washington has promised, deceived and thrown them under the bus, just as the exiles seem to take it in their stride.Didion finds in the Cuban exiles a vitality, passion and sophistication of thought missing in heartland of America These are some choice passagesAmericans, at one and the same time, acted exclusively in their own interests and failed to see their own interests, not only because they were undereducated but because they were by temperament naive, a people who could live and die without ever understanding those nuances of conspiracy and allegience on which, in the Cuban view, the world turnedpp 77 78Miami was the only American city I had ever visited in which it was not unusual to hear one citizen describe the position of another as Falangist, or as essentially Nasseritepp 128 129Making a choice between terrorism of the Right and terrorism of the Left was incomprehensible to him Maybe he was right As time goes by I think that men who were unable to make choices were right than those who made them Because there are no clean choicespp 148 149 about a Cuban exile radio host drawing comparison between Albert Camus political thought and the dilemma of Cuban exiles I would give roughly the first half of Miami five stars for piquant and fetching insight as it races out of the gate in impressionistic style and then settles into impressive reportage, but would downgrade it a bit for morphing overmuch in the last quarter into an analysis of the modus operandi of the Reagan presidency The conservative attitude in America and its effect on Latin American foreign policy tied inextricably into the concerns of Miami s Cuban exile community is necessary for context, but it seems to get too far away from the initial subject of Miami, and the book seems to hang there, ending abruptly.Nonetheless, I learned a lot and would recommend this as go to entre quick primer on an important and little understood, or misunderstood, social, cultural and political American phenomenon BTW, I smoked a Padron while reading this book It seemed appropriate KR KY 2017 Joan Didion s writing is a touchstone in my life, has been since The White Album This book suits her style to a T, urgent, riveting, exposing the underbelly She has the same fascination I have with sordid corruption in politics and circles of power, and Miami is a city rampant with both The Nicaraguan war was basically run from Miami That has been established not just in this book, but in many others The CIA and conservative Cuban exiles who fled Castro teamed up and turned the city into a center of black ops The Cubans in Florida did a lot of dirty work for the CIA in return for empty promises that the US would get rid of Castro Joan Didion knows where to look, and how to reveal volumes in a few short paragraphs This book is riveting, and should be part of every U.S citizen s education about what has been done in their name, and the people who have been our partners in crime. Miami makes two consecutive entries in my Year of Books for which it s difficult to separate the story itself from my familiarity with the story s location and settings I lived in Miami for nearly five years, but never bothered to understand beyond the obvious why it was so unique from any other city I had visited in the continental United States Enter Miami, by Joan Didion.Didion crafts a vision of Miami from the early 60s through the 80s, a story that weaves the omnipresent yet misunderstood influence of Cuban exiles with the often discordant causes and effects of American foreign policy From Kennedy and the failed Bay of Pigs invasion to Reagan and the Iran Contra affair, Miami is brought to life as a place of conspiracies, fleeting allegiances, exiles not immigrants, and good ole fashioned, Hollywood style CIA espionage.And then there s the author This is the first book I ve read from Didion, and I can understand why she s so revered The New Journalism style of writing allows the author to unapologetically insert subjectivity and style into the writing, and Joan Didion the author certainly shows up as a primary character in this book It took me some time to get used to her writing syntax and unconventional use of commas, but once I did, I was able to appreciate her brand of storytelling.Structurally, I found the book somewhat disjointed Aside from the occasional mention of the sitting U.S president, it was easy to get disoriented in time Didion also introduces a multitude of characters by way of individual quotes that support her point in the narrative but nonetheless seem to lack substance, because who is he she I enjoyed this book It provided an intimate look into how the city I lived in became to be If you re a fan of the city itself, the author herself, or simply fascinated by the political instability and machinations of the Cold War, pick this one up. It was a difficult read But I m glad I finished it What Joan Didion did with this book I later discovered is called new journalism that is to say the every dry bits and pieces of information doesn t find its way on the book, rather the author uses some of the materials in a creative way, not to be confused with coherent, to write her piece That doesn t always maintain a sequence of events, which naturally should perplex a lot of readers like myself who are not very grounded on the Cuban American history post Batista era Not to mention, there s quite a lot of complex and compound sentences which were often hard to follow I often had to reread them twice or But, I think it is a beautiful piece of writing, what Joan Didion accomplished here is nothing short of extraordinary Other than the form itself, she doesn t make Miami a bone dry historical anthology, rather often an opinion piece I found her insights quite interesting, especially the relationship between the Cuban Anglo community, the different sections of the el exilio and their hopes, aspirations, frustration and sense of betrayal There s a small almost forgotten little chapter about the African population and their role in the complicated dynamics in a potpourri of ethnicities in 60s 80s Miami It s not a comprehensive history of the cold war era Miami, rather a glimpse behind a curtain which made me serious about learning Fidel Castro and Cuban history I feel real closeness with the Cubans on both sides of the divide as they are as passionate as us Bangladeshis with their politics and ideologies which was a matter of derision and confusion for the white Americans Also, Joan Didion is brilliant She s a treasure. Wow So as the white Anglo Saxon perspective of a city that successfully blends two cultures it s no surprise to find racism disguised behind the mask of a liberal What, there are people who don t speak English or agree with my politics, what is America coming to Didion, who has never lived in South Florida, has written an embarrassing book that will look worse as time passes and America becomes multicultural At first, this book was extremely addictive and the history aspect of it had me reading chapter after chapter in one sitting By the end of the book, I was disgusted and wanted to throw it away. I rarely pick up non fiction books I don t think it is because I dislike them I think most of the time, non fiction is a little bland that a good fiction book This book, however, was interesting It follows specific people Some of the things talked about in this book happened when I was a young child and I have no recollection of these things happening It was a good read and I found myself wanting to know about certain things that happened during the time period. The first third of Miami seemed to promise nothing than amusing reportage when drug traffickers go house hunting they look for private water access Tony Montana became a mythic hero almost the instant Scarface premiered but then it began to hit much harder Didion is so good that any subject she takes up seems her destined one, the exclusive focus of her brooding brilliance but reading Miami I was tempted to narrow things down and say she s truly in her element among covert missions and counterrevolutionary conspiracy, and at her very best when relating brutal ops to the amnesiac innocence projected by our actor leaders, when contrasting the frank machismo of Washington s surrogates with Washington s own circular, coquettish language of power a language in which deniability was built into the grammar Her presentation of the fraught marriage of the sacrificial and absolutist Cuban politicos and pragmatic, desultory Imperial Washington makes this book a keeper.In many ways, Miami remains our graphic lesson in consequences I can assure you that this flag will be returned to this brigade in a free Havana, John F Kennedy said at the Orange Bowl in 1962 meaning it as an abstraction, a rhetorical expression of a collective wish a kind of poetry, which of course makes nothing happen We will not permit the Soviets and their henchmen in Havana to deprive others of their freedom, Ronald Reagan said at the Dade County Auditorium in 1983, and then Ronald Reagan, the first American president since John F Kennedy to visit Miami in search of Cuban support, added this Someday, Cuba itself will be free This was of course just poetry, another rhetorical expression of the same collective wish, but Ronald Reagan, like John F Kennedy before him, was speaking here to people whose historical experience had not been that poetry makes nothing happen.Perhaps what I mean to say is that Didion writes particularly well about politics because, I now see, with a glance back to her famous 1960s themed collections, she is really a connoisseur of the fantasies fermenting in our rhetoric rhetoric that can be taken literally or deployed symbolically, instrumentally and she has a deep appreciation of personalities and subcultures for whom political speech is an exhilaration, a medium of metaphysics.That the wish to see Fidel Castro removed from power in Cuba did not in itself constitute a political philosophy was a point rather appreciated in el exilio, which had as its legacy a tradition of considerable political sophistication, than in Washington, which tended to accept the issue as an idea, and so to see Cuban exiles as refugees not just from Castro but from politics In fact exile life in Miami was dense with political distinctions, none of them exactly in the American grain Miami was for example the only American city I had ever visited in which it was not unusual to hear one citizen describe the position of another as Falangist, or as essentially Nasserite There were in Miami exiles who defined themselves as communists, anti Castro There were in Miami a significant number of exile socialists, also anti Castro There were in Miami two prominent groups of exile anarchists, many still in their twenties, all anti Castro, and divided from one another, I was told, by personality differences, personality differences being the explanation Cubans tend to offer for anything from a dinner table argument to a coup.This urge toward the staking out of increasingly recondite positions, traditional to exile life in Europe and Latin America, remained, in South Florida, exotic, a nervous urban brilliance not entirely apprehended by local Anglos, who continued to think of exiles as occupying a fixed place on the political spectrum, one usually described as right wing or ultraconservative Still, right wing, on the American spectrum, where political positions were understood as marginally different approaches to what was seen as a shared goal, seemed not to apply This was something different, a view of politics as so central to the human condition that there may be no applicable words in the vocabulary of most Americans Virtually every sentient member of the Miami exile community was on any given day engaged in what was called an ideological confrontation with some other member of the Miami exile community Reminds me of Nabokov s complaint that Western Europeans and Americans always pictured exiled Russians as former ladies in waiting to the Czarina or reactionary, monocle wearing counts when, as just one sample of the complexity of that emigration, Nabokov s paternal grandfather had been Minister of Justice to one Czar his father had been imprisoned by the next Czar, and then assassinated in Berlin by royalist fellow exiles and though descended from a deeply anti Semitic aristocracy, his wife was Jewish, as was his closest literary associate, an editor prominent in the Socialist Revolutionary party, anti Lenin I don t like Castro and can think of few figures tiresome than Che Guevara, but I have always found it all too easy to picture many of the first generation Cuban exiles as rightist goons but now, perhaps no less facilely, I see them in the long roll of freedom fighters terrorists when the wind changes trained and temporarily utilized by the United States, promised much, and then strung along, diverted, their struggles, causes, and plucky wars of independence supported and fulsomely publicized only while it was expedient to do so the black soldiers who bled for the Union only to be abandoned to sharecropping and Jim Crow the Native American scouts and guides who ended up on reservations just like the tribes that resisted the Cuban and Filipino nationalists whose brief interval of independence from Spain was quashed by their North American allies and liberators the mujahedeen at grips with the Soviets the Iraqi Shiites and Kurds after the first Gulf War I mean, I know her husband and daughter died, and that kind of thing deserves a memoir, or two, even, and I know she s frail and aged but if she published a book on Baghdad or mercenaries or drones or Karzai or anything else in this mess, I d buy it in a second I m an asshole sorry It Is Where Fidel Castro Raised Money To Overthrow Batista And Where Two Generations Of Castro S Enemies Have Raised Armies To Overthrow Him, So Far Without Success It Is Where The Bitter Opera Of Cuban Exile Intersects With The Cynicism Of US Foreign Policy It Is A City Whose Skyrocketing Murder Rate Is Fueled By The Cocaine Trade, Racial Discontent, And An Undeclared War On The Island Ninety Miles To The South As Didion Follows Miami S Drift Into A Third World Capital, She Also Locates Its Position In The Secret History Of The Cold War, From The Bay Of Pigs To The Reagan Doctrine And From The Kennedy Assassination To The Watergate Break In Miami Is Not Just A Portrait Of A City, But A Masterly Study Of Immigration And Exile, Passion, Hypocrisy, And Political Violence