Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Carlos Eire  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Non-Fiction

Audience: Adult;

Born: 1950 in Havana, Cuba

-- Website --
-- Carlos Eire on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Lived in Chicago, Illinois after being exiled from Cuba in 1962. In 1973 he received his BA degree from Loyola University.

Biographical and Professional Information

Born in Havana in 1950, Carlos Eire left his homeland in 1962, one of fourteen thousand unaccompanied children airlifted out of Cuba by Operation Pedro Pan. After living in a series of foster homes in Florida and Illinois, he was reunited with his mother in Chicago in 1965. His father, who died in 1976, never left Cuba. After earning his Ph.D. at Yale University in 1979, Carlos Eire spend two years at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, taught at St. John's University in Minnesota for two years and at the University of Virginia for fifteen. He joined Yale University in 1996 and is now the T. Lawrason Riggs Professor of History and Religious Studies. He currently resides in Guilford, Connecticut.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Waiting for Snow in Havana: Confessions of a Cuban Boy
ISBN: 0743246411

Free Press. 2004

“Have mercy on me, Lord, I am Cuban.” In 1962, Carlos Eire was one of 14,000 children airlifted out of Havana—exiled from his family, his country, and his own childhood by Fidel Castro’s revolution. Winner of the National Book Award, this stunning memoir is a vibrant and evocative look at Latin America from a child’s unforgettable experience.

Waiting for Snow in Havana is both an exorcism and an ode to a paradise lost. For the Cuba of Carlos’s youth—with its lizards and turquoise seas and sun-drenched siestas—becomes an island of condemnation once a cigar-smoking guerrilla named Fidel Castro ousts President Batista on January 1, 1959. Suddenly the music in the streets sounds like gunfire. Christmas is made illegal, political dissent leads to imprisonment, and too many of Carlos’s friends are leaving Cuba for a place as far away and unthinkable as the United States. Carlos will end up there, too, and fulfill his mother’s dreams by becoming a modern American man—even if his soul remains in the country he left behind.

Narrated with the urgency of a confession, Waiting for Snow in Havana is a eulogy for a native land and a loving testament to the collective spirit of Cubans everywhere.

Learning to Die in Miami: Confessions of a Refugee Boy
ISBN: 143918190X

Free Press. 2010

In his 2003 National Book Award–winning memoir Waiting for Snow in Havana, Carlos Eire narrated his coming of age in Cuba just before and during the Castro revolution. That book literally ends in midair as eleven-year-old Carlos and his older brother leave Havana on an airplane—along with thousands of other children—to begin their new life in Miami in 1962. It would be years before he would see his mother again. He would never again see his beloved father.

Learning to Die in Miami opens as the plane lands and Carlos faces, with trepidation and excitement, his new life. He quickly realizes that in order for his new American self to emerge, his Cuban self must "die." And so, with great enterprise and purpose, he begins his journey.

We follow Carlos as he adjusts to life in his new home. Faced with learning English, attending American schools, and an uncertain future, young Carlos confronts the age-old immigrant’s plight: being surrounded by American bounty, but not able to partake right away. The abundance America has to offer excites him and, regardless of how grim his living situation becomes, he eagerly forges ahead with his own personal assimilation program, shedding the vestiges of his old life almost immediately, even changing his name to Charles. Cuba becomes a remote and vague idea in the back of his mind, something he used to know well, but now it "had ceased to be part of the world."

But as Carlos comes to grips with his strange surroundings, he must also struggle with everyday issues of growing up. His constant movement between foster homes and the eventual realization that his parents are far away in Cuba bring on an acute awareness that his life has irrevocably changed. Flashing back and forth between past and future, we watch as Carlos balances the divide between his past and present homes and finds his way in this strange new world, one that seems to hold the exhilarating promise of infinite possibilities and one that he will eventually claim as his own.

An exorcism and an ode, Learning to Die in Miami is a celebration of renewal—of those times when we’re certain we have died and then are somehow, miraculously, reborn.

Jews, Christians, Muslims: A Comparative Introduction to Monotheistic Religions
ISBN: 0023250925

Prentice Hall. 1997

This book compares Judaism, Christianity, and Islam using seven common themes, which are equally relevant to each tradition. Provoking critical thinking, this book addresses the cultural framework of religious meanings. It explores similarities and differences among Judaism, Christianity, and Islam as it explains the ongoing process of interpretation in each religion. A comparative view of monotheistic religions showing the manor in which each has influenced and responded to the others. Provides readers with an opportunity to appreciate how religious change takes place and how traditions are shaped and reshaped including popular religion. Combines a focus on specific themes (scripture, ritual, ethics) with a strong narrative about the historical developments of these themes. Lets the reader see the enduring aspects of each tradition alongside of the changes. A discussion of material culture is presented.. Including an analysis of art and architecture, food, dress, and the organization of space. Written in crisp, clear prose, with a non-technical, casual approach. Includes illustrations, maps, timelines, and glossary.

A Very Brief History of Eternity
ISBN: 0691133573

Princeton University Press. 2009

What is eternity? Is it anything other than a purely abstract concept, totally unrelated to our lives? A mere hope? A frightfully uncertain horizon? Or is it a certainty, shared by priest and scientist alike, and an essential element in all human relations?

In A Very Brief History of Eternity, Carlos Eire, the historian and National Book Award-winning author of Waiting for Snow in Havana, has written a brilliant history of eternity in Western culture. Tracing the idea from ancient times to the present, Eire examines the rise and fall of five different conceptions of eternity, exploring how they developed and how they have helped shape individual and collective self-understanding.

A book about lived beliefs and their relationship to social and political realities, A Very Brief History of Eternity is also about unbelief, and the tangled and often rancorous relation between faith and reason. Its subject is the largest subject of all, one that has taxed minds great and small for centuries, and will forever be of human interest, intellectually, spiritually, and viscerally.

Readings in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
ISBN: 0023250984

Pearson. 1998

A comparative introduction to significant readings found in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The book covers a wide range of historical periods up to the present day. The readings explore six major themes from the perspective of each tradition. The six major themes includes coverage of: Scripture and Tradition Monotheism Authority and Community Worship and Ritual Ethics and Religion and the Political Order. For anyone interested in Western Religious Traditions in Religion or HIstory Departments.

War against the Idols: The Reformation of Worship from Erasmus to Calvin
ISBN: 0521379849

Cambridge University Press. 1989

In the second decade of the sixteenth century medieval piety suddenly began to be attacked in some places as "idolatry," or false religion. This study calls attention to the importance of the idolatry issue during the Reformation.

Nieve en La Habana: Confesiones de un cubanito (Spanish Edition)
ISBN: 1400079705

Vintage Espanol. 2007

“Ten piedad de mí, Señor, cubano soy”. En 1962, Carlos Eire fue uno de los 14.841 niños que fueron transportados fuera de Cuba en el puente a?reo conocido como la Operación Pedro Pan—exiliado de su familia, de su patria y de su propia niñez por la Revolución. Los recuerdos de su vida en La Habana cobran vida en estas memorias evocativas e inolvidables.

Nieve en La Habana es a su vez un exorcismo y una oda a un mundo perdido. La Cuba de la niñez de Carlos, con sus lagartijas y su mar azul turquesa bañado por un sol esplendoroso, se convierte en una isla maldita con la llegada al poder de un guerrillero llamado Fidel Castro. De pronto la música callejera se transforma en tiroteos, las pascuas navideñas quedan prohibidas, la disidencia conlleva encarcelamiento y casi todos los amigos de Carlos deben irse de Cuba rumbo a un lugar tan lejano e inconcebible como los Estados Unidos. Carlos también terminará en ese mismo exilio, y cumplirá el deseo de su madre de convertirse en un hombre americano moderno —aun si su alma permanece en el país que lo vio nacer.

Narrado con la urgencia de una confesión, Nieve en La Habana es un elogio a una patria arruinada y un amoroso testimonio del espíritu colectivo de todos los cubanos, dondequiera que estén.

Miami y Mis Mil Muertes: Confesiones de un cubanito desterrado (Spanish Edition)
ISBN: 1439191727

Free Press. 2010

En su libro de memorias Nieve en La Habana, el cual ganó el Premio Nacional del Libro en 2003, Carlos Eire narra su niñez en Cuba en la época del triunfo de la revolución y la llegada al poder de Fidel Castro. Esa historia termina en 1962, en el avión que lleva a Carlos y a su hermano desde La Habana a Miami para comenzar una nueva vida, como sucedió a miles de niños cubanos. Pasarían años antes de que Carlos volviera a ver a su madre. Y nunca más volvería a ver a su padre, por quien sentía una verdadera devoción.

Miami y Mis Mil Muertes sigue el cuento en el momento en que aquel avión aterriza y Carlos comienza una nueva vida impulsado por sus miedos y esperanzas. Enseguida se da cuenta de que para llegar a ser americano tendrá que “morir” el Carlos cubano que hasta ahora ha sido. Se enfrenta al eterno dilema del inmigrante que debe aprender inglés, ir a una escuela americana y descifrar un futuro incierto: está en el país de las oportunidades, pero aún no es capaz de aprovecharlas. A pesar de la dura realidad de los hogares adoptivos donde ha de vivir, el muchacho se abre paso, dejando atrás cualquier vestigio de su vida pasada hasta el punto de cambiar su nombre y convertirse en Charles. Miami y Mis Mil Muertes es un exorcismo y una oda a esa experiencia, es un homenaje a la renovación, a los momentos de la vida en que tenemos la certeza de haber muerto y, de alguna manera milagrosa, haber vuelto a nacer.

From Madrid to Purgatory: The Art & Craft of Dying in Sixteenth-Century Spain (Cambridge Studies in Early Modern History)
ISBN: 0521529425

Cambridge University Press. 2002

This book reveals the workings of a culture that cherished death, and invested its resources in the pursuit of heaven. This is the first full-length study of Spanish attitudes toward death and the afterlife in the peak years of the Counter-Reformation. It contains an analysis of the death rituals requested in hundreds of sixteenth-century Madrid testaments, as well as a detailed account of the ways in which the "good" deaths of King Philip II and Saint Teresa of Avila were interpreted by contemporaries.

Warten auf Schnee in Havanna
ISBN: 3453400968

Heyne Verlag. 0


  • National Book Award in nonfiction for 2003, ''"Waiting for Snow in Havana"''

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