The Sugar King of Havana by John Paul Rathbone
The Rise and Fall of Julio Lobo, Cuba's Last Tycoon

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Synopsis

"Fascinating...A richly detailed portrait." -Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

Known in his day as the King of Sugar, Julio Lobo was the wealthiest man in prerevolutionary Cuba. He had a life fit for Hollywood: he barely survived both a gangland shooting and a firing squad, and courted movie stars such as Joan Fontaine and Bette Davis. Only when he declined Che Guevara's personal offer to become Minister of Sugar in the Communist regime did Lobo's decades-long reign in Cuba come to a dramatic end. Drawing on stories from the author's own family history and other tales of the island's lost haute bourgeoisie, The Sugar King of Havana is a rare portrait of Cuba's glittering past-and a hopeful window into its future.
 

About John Paul Rathbone

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John Paul Rathbone was born in New York and raised in England. Currently the deputy head of the Financial Times'; prestigious “Lex” column, he is a graduate of Oxford and Columbia universities, and has worked as an economist, at the World Bank, and a journalist. His articles have appeared in many publications, including The Wall Street Journal, Britain's Sunday Telegraph, Colombia's El Espectador, and Esquire magazine, where he was the business columnist from 2002 to 2003. He lives in London.
 
Published August 5, 2010 by Penguin Books. 319 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Business & Economics, History. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Sugar King of Havana

Kirkus Reviews

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Julio Lobo wasn’t the only man to have earned a fortune in Cuba, as Financial Times contributor Rathbone writes, but he was the only one to have earned an adage: “ser rico como un Julio Lobo—to be as rich as Julio Lobo.” Born in 1898, the year of Cuba’s independence from Spain, Lobo was the wealt...

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The New York Times

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the Mafia, their casinos, and the famous American actor drunk in a small bar in Old Havana were suddenly over, gone with the wind, and the traces and stories that they left behind grew into legends.” In this book Mr. Rathbone, a Financial Times editor who formerly edited its column “Lex,” tel...

Aug 12 2010 | Read Full Review of The Sugar King of Havana: The...

The Wall Street Journal

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In 1934, with the world in the throes of the Depression, an enterprising trader brought the New York sugar market to its knees, orchestrating what he later described as "the only perfect squeeze that was ever pulled."

Aug 03 2010 | Read Full Review of The Sugar King of Havana: The...

The Washington Post

But in recognition of Lobo's savvy and indispensability, Che made him an offer: Though his properties and assets would be seized in a matter of days, Lobo could stay on and run his sugar mills for the revolutionary government for a modest monthly salary.

Aug 15 2010 | Read Full Review of The Sugar King of Havana: The...

Christian Science Monitor

Severely wounded by assassins, a dapper man named Julio Lobo lies on an Army hospital bed in Havana and listens as a colonel reassures everyone in the room that Cuba’s “Sugar King” is safe.

Aug 25 2010 | Read Full Review of The Sugar King of Havana: The...

Bookmarks Magazine

Randy Dotinga New York Times 4 of 5 Stars "Although Mr. Rathbone, who grew up on his mother's stories about those ‘elegant, decadent and whirligig years,' occasionally romanticizes Lobo and his world, he gives us a richly detailed portrait of this complicated, conflicted man while deftly wea...

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The New Yorker

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