A powerful account of the decline of the Cuban Revolution, told through the lives of five ordinary Cuban citizens.
'Masterful... Dore uses oral history to tell a history of Cuba from the bottom up' Professor Linda Gordon
'A vital addition to Cuba's rich oral tradition' Will Grant, BBC Cuba Correspondent
'Opens wide a window on the last forty years of Cuban history' Professor Gerald Martin
'To have gathered these life stories together with such grace, eloquence and trust is a towering achievement' Professor Ruth Behar
Cuba is not the country it used to be. The regime is disintegrating, and unprecedented protest marches are challenging the gerontocratic Communist Party leadership.
How Things Fall Apart reveals the decay of this political system through the lives of five ordinary Cuban citizens. Born in the 1970s and 80s, these men and women recount how their lives changed over a tumultuous stretch of thirty-five years: first when Fidel opened the country to tourism following the fall of the Soviet bloc; then when Raúl Castro allowed market forces to operate, thinking it would stop the country's economic slide; and finally when President Trump's tightening of the US embargo combined with the Covid-19 pandemic to cause economic collapse. With warmth and humanity, they describe learning to survive in an environment where a tiny minority has grown rich by local standards, the great majority has been left behind, and inequality has destroyed the very things that used to give meaning to Cubans' lives.
Born out of the first oral history project authorized by the Cuban government in forty years, Professor Elizabeth Dore gathers these stories to illuminate the slow and agonizing decline of the Cuban Revolution over the past four decades. For over sixty years the government controlled the historical narrative. In this book, Cubans tell their own stories.