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March's Book
When Cuba Conquered Kentucky
- by Marianne Walker

The triumphant basketball story of a tiny high school that achieved the American Dream.

When Cuba Conquered Kentucky is the incredible story of a basketball team from a tiny high school in Cuba, Kentucky, that baffled opponents, dazzled spectators, and captured a state championship by beating big-city schools along the way. It's about a group of boys sharing their coach's dream of winning the state tournament and about how they worked together to make that dream come true.

Nowhere is basketball celebrated more than it is in Kentucky, where the legacies of Adolph Rupp and the Kentucky Wildcats share the spotlight with great high school players and teams. This is the heartwarming story of the most memorable of all those great high school basketball teams--the Cuba Cubs from the tiny town of Cuba in a isolated region cut off from the rest of the state by three great rivers.

From the time a particular group of eighth-grade boys became inspired by Coach Jack Story's dream to win the state basketball championship, they worked together to make that dream a reality. As juniors, they lost their bid for the state championship but vowed to return the next year and win. And win they did, with a flair that gained national attention when they emulated the moves of the Harlem Globetrotters.

When Cuba Conquered Kentucky is about much more than basketball, for it looks back to a period in American life when indoor plumbing and electricity were rare luxuries and when hardships and sacrifice were a way of life. But it was also a time when neighbors knew each other by first names, swapped work, and cared for each other, and when people left their doors unlocked, day and night.

It is against this backdrop that the Cuba Cubs lived out the American Dream while crisscrossing the state to beat almost all comers, culminating with their victory over powerful Louisville Manual in the 1952 state championship game.

The people, the places, the events are all true. Yet their story is a timeless, universal one about hope, courage, endurance, pride, sacrifice, and honor.

Marianne Walker, a native of Monroe, Louisiana, is a professor of English and philosophy at Henderson (Kentucky) Community College. She is the author of Margaret Mitchell and John Marsh: the Love Story Behind Gone With the Wind, and she has written for the New York Times Book Review and the Louisville Courier-Journal Sunday Magazine. Walker and her husband, Ulvester, live in Henderson, Kentucky.

Published in 1999 by: Rutledge Hill Press

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