Title: Leaving Glorytown: One Boy's Struggle Under Castro
Author: Eduardo F. Calcines
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Concepts: poverty, scarcity, distribution, allocation, economics of government
Review: As a very young child, Eduardo Calcines had the good fortune of living in a tight-knit community in the town of Cienfuegos, Cuba, with loving parents and grandparents, close friends, and economic security. However, all this changed in 1959 after Eduardo turned three and Fidel Castro became prime minister of Cuba. Over time, Castro’s regime steadily took away almost all luxuries, many basic needs, and even some fundamental human rights that people across Cuba had enjoyed before the Revolution. Hunger, isolation, and fear became routine ways of life, particularly for families such as the Calcines family who did not join the Communist party and instead applied for exit visas to leave Cuba for the United States. Viewed as worms and traitors, Eduardo and his family endured a series of hardships and grievances while they waited for their number to get picked in the immigration lottery.
This outstanding memoir provides a gripping account of life under Castro’s stranglehold over the Cuban economy and its people. Mixed into the heart-wrenching descriptions of the difficulties that Eduardo endured as a child are amusing stories that reflect the innocence and joys of youth. Leaving Glorytown will leave readers with unforgettable lessons about the struggles that people experienced under Fidel Castro’s leadership and the opportunities that come with freedom.
Review by: The Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children