Book Review: Reef Libre by Robert Wintner

October 23, 2015 Book Reviews 2

I received this book for free from iRead Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Reef Libre by Robert WintnerReef Libre: Cuba the Last, Best Reefs in the World by Robert Wintner
Published by Taylor Trade Publishing on January 5th 2015
Genres: Non-Fiction
Pages: 320
Source: iRead Tours
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Decades of isolation from tourism and development have left Cuba's coral reefs among the most pristine in the world, an exceptionalism that stands in stark contrast to the island nation's poverty and political oppression. Famed diver/photographer Robert Snorkel Bob Wintner showcases these magnificent reefs with his astounding underwater images, while also capturing terrestrial life in the cities and villages of the island nation.

My thoughts

I had a completely different idea before I set out to read this book and watch the DVD. Although they are very informative, I was a little shocked, but pleasantly, by the music in the film. It is only background to the commentary, though, and goes with the Cuban feel of the entire set.

Both book and dvd are very informative. The book is one of those that my mom would put on her coffee table. I don’t know if that’s a thing anymore as I have four dogs and coffee tables get chewed on, but this is on a low bookcase. It is gorgeous and just flipping through anyone can enjoy the beautiful, breathtaking pictures.

The DVD commentary was a little more friendly than I imagined. Not technically in a bad way, just different. The crew is discussing the various ways the reefs can be killed or thrive, which I think is very important information, but how it was delivered did not totally mesh with me. The laid back attitude was what threw me off, I think. Again, it is fascinating but the commentary sometimes was not up to par with the important information that they were explaining.

The whole set is amazing though, really. I feel privileged to be able to review something that will hopefully help to make an impact on our children. I know my niece and especially my nephew would love this. Not only the DVD but the book too.

In short: Amazing book and DVD. Be prepared for Cuban music and colorful commentary.


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The Author


Best known as Snorkel Bob in Hawaii and around the world, Robert Wintner captures Cuba above and below the surface with urgency and hope. As a pioneer in fish portraiture, Wintner demonstrated social structure and etiquette in reef society. Reef Libre goes to political context, in which human folly will squander Cuba’s reefs as well—unless natural values can at last transcend political greed. As pundits joust over who did what to whom and why, Wintner ponders reef prospects in view of political changes.

Robert Wintner has authored many novels and story collections. Reef Libre is his fourth reef commentary with photos and his first overview of survival potential in a political maelstrom. He lives and works in Hawaii, still on the front lines of the campaign to stop the aquarium trade around the world.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Facebook

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2 Responses to “Book Review: Reef Libre by Robert Wintner”

  1. Robert Wintner

    Thanks, Christina, for your thoughtful review. I’ve never imagined Cuban music as “shocking.” It’s always been a unique aspect of jazz in general and Latin jazz in particular, and another component of Cuban artistry that stands out. I suppose I never thought of my narrative as “laid back” either, but rather as straightforward and concise. I appreciate your forebearance on that and assure you that easing yourself over into shark-healthy waters is not a laid back thing to do. So I’m glad you saw the beauty and value and, most importantly, our responsibility to protect reefs around the world while we can.

    • Christina

      I should say interesting instead of shocking. It is about Cuban waters! The other interesting portion was the banter, which led me to feel more laid back. But I really did enjoy it! Hopefully that came across in the review! I cannot wait for my nephew to see this.