The Real Fidel Castro

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Yale University Press, Oct 1, 2008 - Biography & Autobiography - 352 pages

Rhetoric during and after the Cold War years has painted starkly contrasting portraits of Cuba's Fidel Castro: an unblemished idealist on the one hand, a ruthless dictator on the other. This insightful book, the most intimate and dispassionate biography of the revolutionary leader to date, shows that neither assessment is true.

Leycester Coltman, British ambassador to Cuba in the early 1990s, came as close to personal friendship with Castro as any foreigner was permitted. With frequent contact and regular conversations, Coltman was in a unique position to observe the dictator's personality in both public and private situations. Here he presents a close-up view of the man who for half a century has been loved, admired, feared, and hated, but seldom really understood.

Coltman chronicles the events of the Cuban leader's extraordinary life from the political activism of his university days in Havana to periods of exile, imprisonment, and guerilla warfare alongside Che Guevara, to the uncertainties of his old age. Drawing on personal observation and archival sources in Cuba and abroad, Coltman explores the contradiction between the private character and the public reputation, and highlights the complexities of the consummate actor who continues to play a crucial role on the international stage.

 

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User Review  - addunn3 - LibraryThing

The best biography of a very complex and, in the US, very maligned leader I have read. For over 50 years he has guided Cuba through the maze of CIA attacks, embargoes, and changing world politics and ... Read full review

Contents

1 Rebel in Search of a Cause
1
2 Alone on the Beach
16
3 Lessons in Revolution
30
4 Parttime Husband and Lawyer
46
5 The Movement
59
6 Moncada Lives
80
7 Prison and Exile
93
8 In the Sierra
113
13 The Private Man
219
14 The Economy a Poet and Chile
227
15 Leader of the Third World
237
16 The Old Order Changes
247
17 Hard Times
267
18 The Final Hour?
282
19 Second Wind
301
20 End Game
314

9 Power
140
10 Invasion
167
11 The Missile Crisis
187
12 Revolution and More Revolution
203
Select Bibliography
323
Index
325
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