Tobacco and sugar have made the history, the character, and the economy of Cuba. In this entertaining book, packed with fascinating lore, scholarship in its most humane form, and the flavor of Fernando Ortiz’s exceedingly civilized and humorous personality, the two important crops are seen from many points of view. Their economic aspects form the base, but they are examined, too, for their effects on folklore, art, science, industry, and daily human living. Out of personal experience, memory, and a lifetime of reading in all the western European languages, Dr. Ortiz has condensed exactly what is most telling, interesting, and significant about the leafy plant and the cane that together have made the story of his native land.
The present translation, by Harriet de Onís, was made from a text specially prepared in Spanish by the author. It has an admiring introduction by the late Bronislaw Malinowski and a prologue by Herminio Portell Vilá, noted Cuban historian and sociologist.