My Life: A Spoken Autobiography

Front Cover
Simon and Schuster, Jun 9, 2009 - Biography & Autobiography - 736 pages
The intimate and highly revealing life story of the world’s longest-serving, most charismatic, and controversial head of state in modern times.

Fidel Castro was a dictatorial pariah to some and a hero and inspiration for many of the world's poor, defiantly charting an independent and revolutionary path for Cuba over nearly half a century. Numerous attempts were made to get Castro to tell his own story. But only in the twilight of his years was he prepared to set out the details of his remarkable biography for the world to read before his death in 2016. This book is nothing less than his living testament.

In these pages, Castro narrates a compelling chronicle that spans the harshness of his elementary school teachers; the early failures of the revolution; his intense comradeship with Che Guevara and their astonishing, against-all-odds victory over the dictator Batista; the Cuban perspective on the Bay of Pigs and the ensuing missile crisis; the active role of Cuba in African independence movements (especially its large military involvement in fighting apartheid South Africa in Angola); his relations with prominent public figures such as Boris Yeltsin, Pope John Paul II, and Saddam Hussein; and his dealings with no less than ten successive American presidents, from Eisenhower to George W. Bush.

Castro talks proudly of increasing life expectancy in Cuba; of the half million students in Cuban universities; and of the training of seventy thousand Cuban doctors nearly half of whom work abroad, assisting the poor in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. He confronts a number of thorny issues, including democracy and human rights, discrimination toward homosexuals, and the presence of the death penalty on Cuban statute books. Along the way he shares intimacies about more personal matters: the benevolent strictness of his father, his successful attempt to give up cigars, his love of Ernest Hemingway's novels, and his calculation that by not shaving he saves up to ten working days each year.

Drawing on more than one hundred hours of interviews with Ignacio Ramonet, a knowledgeable and trusted interlocutor, this spoken autobiography will stand as the definitive record of an extraordinary life lived in turbulent times.
 

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FIDEL CASTRO: My Life: A Spoken Autobiography

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El Comandante reveals himself to be a bit of a tree-hugger, a bit of a dreamer and a bit of a loner.Yet he's always got a practical edge. Cuban leader (or dictator, depending on your take) Castro ... Read full review

Fidel Castro: My Life: A Spoken Autobiography

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In February, 2002, Ramonet, the editor of French monthly Le Monde diplomatique, began a two-year conversation with the controversial Cuban head of state, a collaboration that resulted in this Q&A ... Read full review

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Contents

A Hundred Hours with Fidel
1
The Childhood of a Leader
23
The Forging of a Rebel
52
Entering Politics
83
The Assault on the Moncada Barracks
104
The Backdrop of the Revolution
135
History Will Absolve Me
158
Che Guevara
171
The Collapse of the Soviet Union
354
The Ochoa Case and the Death Penalty
367
Cuba and Neoliberal Globalization
386
President Jimmy Carters Visit
405
The Arrests of Dissidents in March 2003
432
The Hijackings in April 2003
460
Cuba and Spain
483
Fidel and France
506

In the Sierra Maestra
182
Lessons from a Guerrilla War
205
First Steps First Problems
215
The Conspiracies Begin
241
The Bay of PigsPlaya Giron
257
The Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962
271
The Death of Che Guevara
292
Cuba and Africa
308
The Emigration Crises
335
Latin America
520
Cuba Today
538
Summing up a Life and a Revolution
570
After Fidel What?
595
A Note on the Text and the Translation
627
Some Key Dates in the Life of Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution 19262007
631
Notes
663
Index
713
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

Ignacio Ramonet is editor of Le Monde diplomatique. He is the author of Wars of the 21st Century and Geopolitics of Chaos, the founder of Media Watch Global, and a regular contributor to the Spanish daily El País.

Fidel Castro led Cuba from 1959 until February 2008.