Academic journal article Journalism History

Book Reviews -- Radio and Television in Cuba: The Pre-Castro Era by Michael B. Salwen

Academic journal article Journalism History

Book Reviews -- Radio and Television in Cuba: The Pre-Castro Era by Michael B. Salwen

Article excerpt

Salwen, Michael B. Radio and Television in Cuba: The Pre-Castro Era. Ames: Iowa State University, 1994. 224 pp. $37.95.

One could wait until what most believe will be the ultimate collapse of communism in Cuba to write this book. Or, one could wait and add the three-plus decades of Fidel Castro's regime. Or, one could wait to fully evaluate the changes already underway on that island nation.

Michael B. Salwen, an assistant professor of journalism and photography at the University of Miami, did not wait and has added to his earlier work on Latin American mass media by producing a breezily written, important pre-Castro history of Cuban broadcasting that will assist in understanding and grasping the future. It is timely given that we know the seeds of the past are harvested tomorrow.

In many ways, it is remarkable that a small island nation with extensive poverty would be able to build and develop a great number of radio and television stations complete with comparatively large networks. The first half of the book reconstructs those days from radio in the 1920s to television in the 1950s. The second half continues that chronological pattern but tends to stress political and social events more heavily. However, the entire work places the history of Cuban broadcasting in the context of economic matters, free press issues, and political conditions along with the charges of corruption partially created by those circumstances. …

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