“Cuba, more or less”

Available now from Koehler Books

Charge up San Juan Hill with two priests in a Kia, and you know the world is changing. In Cuba, the changes are coming fast and furious. Except when they’re not and the priest still has to fly to the U.S. to get parts for his car.

When the waning days of the Castro regime meet the diplomatic ambition of President Barack Obama, strange things happen on the island.

In six trips there, newspaper reporter, international outreach practitioner, lifelong agnostic and oddly trusted self-styled emissary of the Episcopal Church Zachary Reid pulled together a story that shows Cuba for everything that it is, and isn’t, at the dawn of a political change that has been decades in the making.

Reid traveled the island top to bottom and side-to-side, often alone, occasionally in groups, once in a Russian SUV that literally fell apart in his hands, always with his eyes tuned to what life was like for the people away from the politics. At time insightful, at times cranky, Cuba, more or less is a trip through the Cuba that doesn’t show up on package tours or in newspaper stories.

The book is a travelogue about life in Cuba today, just before and immediately after President Obama reestablished diplomatic ties with the country. It’s built around a series of interviews with people across the island, who help tell the story of Cuba from the end of colonialism to the dawn of independence to decades under a dictator. Their stories are woven around accounts of what Cuba is like today, from pushy waiters in Havana’s Chinatown to getting stuck in a bar with a couple of cut-rate hustlers at 10 o’clock in the morning to hearing two priests debate the best way to describe the odor of a lookout tower atop San Juan Hill that they ultimately labeled “a piss house.”

A promotional guide for the book, including publication details and marketing plans, is available.