Thomas Joseph “T.J.” English is one of the most renowned writers in the United States, covering organized crime and the criminal underworld. As a journalist and author, he has written on everything from ethnic gangs in the U.S. to the narco war in Mexico and corruption in law enforcement, and in 2018, he will be joining Aegean Odyssey on her ‘The Cuba Experience I’ and ‘Cuba and Jamaica II’ February sailings as a guest lecturer.
About T.J. English
T.J. is the author of several books, including a trilogy on the Irish Mob in America (The Westies, Paddy Whacked and Where the Bodies Were Buried). Four of his books have been New York Times best-sellers as well as finalists for the Edgar Award in the category of Best Fact Crime. His journalism has appeared in numerous national magazines, including Vanity Fair, Esquire and Playboy, and in 2010 he was award the prestigious New York Press Club Award for his reporting about a corrupt DEA agent.
A former New York City taxi driver, English is known for combining thorough research and scholarship with a feel for the streets to create books that are both intimate and epic in scale. Three of his books — The Savage City, Havana Nocturne and a yet unpublished work on the Cuban American mafia in the U.S. — are currently in development for film and television.
Havana Nocturne – Mobsters In Cuba
As T.J. will be joining our Cuba sailings in 2018, we’re going to look a little closer at his New York Times bestselling book ‘Havana Nocturne’. A novel on the era of U.S. mobsters in Cuba at the time of the Cuban Revolution.
In modern-day Havana, the remnants of its glamorous past are everywhere – the old hotel-casinos, vintage American cars, and flickering neon signs speak of a bygone era that is widely familiar and often romanticized, but little understood. In Havana Nocturne, T.J. English offers a riveting, multifaceted true tale of organized crime, political corruption, roaring nightlife, revolution, and international conflict that interweaves the dual stories of the mob in Havana and the event that would overshadow it, the Cuban Revolution. As the Cuban people labored under a violently repressive regime throughout the 1950s, mob leaders Meyer Lansky and Charles “Lucky” Luciano turned their eye to Havana. To them, Cuba was the ultimate dream, the greatest hope for the future of the American mob in the years of post-Prohibition and intensified government crackdowns.
But when it came time to make their move, it was the brilliant Jewish mobster, Meyer Lansky, who reigned supreme. Having cultivated strong ties with the Cuban government and in particular the brutal dictator, President Batista, Lansky brought key mobsters to Havana to put his ambitious business plans in motion. Before long, the mob, with Batista’s corrupt government in its pocket, owned the biggest luxury hotels and casinos in Havana, launching an unprecedented tourism boom, complete with the most lavish entertainment, the world’s biggest celebrities, the most beautiful women, and gambling galore. But their dreams collided with those of Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, and others who would lead the country’s disenfranchised to overthrow their corrupt government and its foreign partners — an epic cultural battle that English captures in all its sexy, decadent, ugly glory.
Bringing together long-buried historical information with English’s own research in Havana – including interviews with the era’s key survivors, Havana Nocturne takes readers back to Cuba in the years when it was a veritable devil’s playground for mob leaders. English deftly weaves together the parallel stories of the Havana mob – featuring notorious criminals such as Santo Trafficante Jr., and Albert Anastasia – and Castro’s 26th of July Movement. Havana Nocturne offers a riveting, up-close look at how the mob nearly attained its biggest dream in Havana and how Fidel Castro trumped it all with the Cuban Revolution.
Upon publication in 2008, Havana Nocturne became a publishing phenomenon. The book rose to #7 on the New York Times best seller list, where it remained for six weeks. It also appeared on the following best seller lists: Wall Street Journal, USA Today, San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, Independent Booksellers.
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