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Against All Hope: A Memoir of Life in Castro's Gulag Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 423 pages
  • Publisher: Encounter Books; Reprint edition (April 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1893554198
  • ISBN-13: 978-1893554191
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #265,809 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Spanish

From the Publisher

When Against All Hope first appeared, it was immediately compared to Darkness at Noon and other classic prison narratives about the resilience of the human spirit in the face of totalitarianism. Now, with a new introduction by the author, which tells of his life since prison and brings the story of Cuban dissidence up to the case of Elian Gonzalez, Against All Hope is more relevant than ever.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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I would definetely recommend this work to anyone.
Lissett Hernandez
Wonderful testimony to the bravery and courage of the human spirit in the face of horrible odds.
Aimee Thor
Against All Hope is one of the most gripping books you will ever read.
Bigshaker

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

57 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Eugene A Jewett on May 15, 2001
Format: Paperback
When I read this book I had to put it down at least seven different times; the barbaric cruelty of the jailers was that upsetting. For little more than a token show of distaste for Marxism, Valladares was imprisoned under the harshest conditions imaginable. The mind numbing sadism goes on chapter after chapter until you can't imagine how a man could put up with it. Valladares, thru sheer faith and belief that he'll survive, finds a way to survive the drawer cells, the white room, the extended solitary confinement in total darkness, the sleep deprivation, the horrible food, the immersion in a lake of human excrement, the brutal beatings and having to witness fellow prisoners maimed and killed.
His health, particularly his lung tissue, was permanently damaged. The description of his injury and its aftermath in the wake of his attempt to escape made me wince repeatedly. Having been on crutches 15 times myself I could feel his pain. God bless Amnesty International for helping to spring this guy.
When I read about the excoriation that Ron Radosh and David Horowitz endure from their former communist comrades I want to suggest that the complinants go live in Cuba and ply their demogoguery there. Then they can do time in Castro's jails and give us their opinion about his glorious revolution.
Read "Guerilla Prince" by Geyer as a compliment to this book; it's the story of Castro's life. Fidel, whatta guy. Valladares adds to the extensive record of what a horrifying sadist we have ruling an island prison 90 miles from our shores. All American communists-progressives-socialists should read this book, for perspective if nothing else.
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49 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 9, 2003
Format: Paperback
"Against All Hope" is Armando Valladares' account of the near-quarter century he spent in Fidel Castro's Soviet-style gulags. Valladares was arrested shortly after Fidel's revolution, simply for not placing a Marxist slogan on his office desk, that would have required him to deny his Savior, Jesus Christ. Several days after this refusal, his house was stormed in the middle of the night, and he was hauled off to prison in Havana, with his mother promised that he would be returned shortly thereafter. Valladares didn't see her in freedom until 22 torturous and terror-filled years later.
The greatest thing Armando Valladares has done for the free world is to shatter the myth (CNN and Jimmy Carter, not withstanding) that Fidel Castro's Cuba is a semi-free place, persecuting only a handful of capitalists and subversives. Valladares tells story after story of hundreds (among tens of thousands of others) of prisoners he knew personally, who were tortured, maimed, starved, and executed. Scores of these prisoners Valladares came to know were not upper class or "white" but poor "campesinos" (and many black Cubans), many of whom once fought for Fidel Castro and Che Guevarra's Revolution... only to have that Machine of Death turn and kill them as well.
After nearly 400 pages of death and terror at the hands of Fidel Castro and his minions, I found myself wanting to just close the book and forget the rest. But then, I realized that's what the United Nations (ah, what a noble-sounding title that is) and the Western elitist Left has been doing for years with Castro... ignoring his terrorism. Ultimately, I was glad I finished the book, because even though Valladares does not put some lame happy spin on the story, he is at least freed (22 years of his life stolen), and now he can openly speak the truth of his Savior, to Fidel's power.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By J A W on June 23, 2004
Format: Paperback
Beautiful in its stark, dark reprisal of life in a Cuban Gulag. Through all the grotesque trials and tribulation, Armando finds strength in the truth of his principles and in his God. He is a hero of mine, for I'm not sure I could withstand what he did. The beatings, the psych and chemical torture, the (...)pits, the knowledge that the family suffers because of your absence, the hunger strikes, for twenty years. Hundreds of anecdotes, mostly depressing (...), line the pages. This should be mandatory reading for the Danny Glovers of the world, who sickingly worship the ghoul Castro. Armando Valladares makes the world a better place, and we should all profit from learning about his life. It is a book that will stick w/ you, in its message of overcoming the darkest of the dark w/ the thin light of Heaven and freedom.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Lissett Hernandez on November 23, 2000
Format: Paperback
As the daughter of a political prisioner who shared the trials and tribulations of the author, I can assure the readers that, as unbelievable as this book may sound to you, it is not a work of fiction, but the truth. The daily "life" that is described in this book, the tortures and the endless mind-boggling cruelty will haunt you. But above all, it is the undying hope and faith that shines through all the pages that will capture your heart. It is a beautiful testimony to the strength of the human spirit. I would definetely recommend this work to anyone.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Tom Plum on March 16, 2004
Format: Paperback
Are you ever against adversity?? Then, I would read this book!
But I do wish to articulate:
I lived near the Northern Border of Mexico, in the early mid 1980s; when Liberation Theology was in Central America; when insurgent movements were across Latin America; I had a shortwave radio and among other things, I listened to "Radio Havana Cuba", I am anglo, but I learned the Spanish language in college. I watched the excellent movie "El Norte" addressing the problems of Mayan Indians from Guatemala migrating to the U.S. (and probably a good unbiased movie to watch as well). I read and read and I saw even Socialist demonstrations in Mexico along with murals for all of the assorted parties there besides those with the hammer and sickle.
But it made me wonder; what is the truth?
So famous, is that "Scarface" movie of the early eighties; about a Cuban Prisoner of all things; coming over to Florida on the Mariel Boatlift. During that time, I took a class on Cuban history and I may have been a shade positive attitude towards Fidel Castro; but after reading this book; I became very neutral, not knowing what to think, about the "workers paradise" of that Caribbean isle.
Fidel; and in fact, others, Che Guevara and the dictator's brother, Raoul; all are mentioned in this book, additionally in no favorable way;
If half of what Valladares writes in this book were true, that would be rather sad for the ruling regime of Cuba; but then, I have to read it, and wonder, what motives would Valladares have to write untruths?
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