Cuba Libre
First edition
AuthorElmore Leonard
Cover artistChip Kidd (designer)
CountryUnited States
PublisherDelacorte Press
Publication date
Media typePrint (Hardcover)
Preceded byRiding the Rap 
Followed byPagan Babies 

Cuba Libre is a 1998 historical novel written by Elmore Leonard. The story takes place in 1898, immediately before the outbreak of the Spanish–American War.[1][2]

Plot summary

Ben Tyler, a cowboy and sometime bank robber, is released from prison and is recruited by his old boss to ship a string of horses to a rich American sugar baron in Cuba. Their ship arrives in Havana harbor shortly after the explosive destruction of the warship USS Maine, amid rumors that war between Spain and the United States of America is imminent.


  1. ^ The master of the low-lifes: Writing about bums, thugs and mugs, Elmore Leonard basks in late-life success; Portman, Jamie. The Spectator [Hamilton, Ont] 21 Feb 1998.
  2. ^ Ripping good reading set in stormy Cuba; Elmore Leonard spins a smooth yarn: Mandel, Charles. Edmonton Journal [Edmonton, Alta] 15 Mar 1998.