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Everybody has a past; some are more intriguing than others. When retired schoolteacher Billy Bryan's daughter begins cleaning his house a few days after his wife's death, she finds in the forgotten pages of his dusty scrapbook part of a past she's never known. The memories they invoke send the grieving Billy--"I think God has fed me a breaking ball to keep me off balance"--and his daughter on a remarkable journey back to his youth, where, as a major-league hopeful, he played winter baseball in Cuba half a century ago. It was there that his life changed when he crossed paths with a young student radical with a dynamite curve and a revolutionary's fire named Fidel Castro.

Wendel's lustrous prose and imaginative storytelling paint a vivid portrait of a life not just lived, but inhaled against a backdrop of a nation mad for baseball and not far from political and social upheaval. Having caught Castro's extraordinarily feathery curveball in an exhibition, Billy befriends the future leader, falling under his charismatic spell and enormous dreams for a new nation. Billy also falls, deeply, for a beautiful Cuban photographer who is so caught by Castro's visions that destiny deems the strands of their lives can never twine. "Castro was a hurricane unto himself," Billy recalls. "When I first met him, that side of him seemed refreshing, almost funny in a strange way." But the closer he got to Cuba's future leader, the more that would change. Just how much--and at what personal cost--is the secret that Billy, now an old man on a return trip to his past, must confront as if it were a fastball down the heart of his life, and make his peace with it at last. --Jeff Silverman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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ISBN-10:  0803259573
ISBN-13:  978-0803259577
Author:  Tim Wendel
Publisher:  Bison Books
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review by . May 27, 2010
This well-written book examines the question of whether Fidel Castro ever signed a contract to pitch in the major leages. Of course, it's a fiction book, but seemingly based on some facts. The author concludes that Fidel did sign such a contract, but you must read the book to get all the details, and how and why it happened.    Reading this book is almost like having a tour of Havana in the late 1940s.with all its glitter, glamour, and sinfullness. It's almost as if the author …
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