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Fidel Castro Paperback – August 17, 1995
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Whatever. Quirk's book is an excellent treatment of Castro and of the troubled history of a small nation often caught between two struggling superpowers, whether it was Spain and the US or Russia and the US. I think he captures the essence of Castro's adventurer friend Ernesto Guevara (a murdering dilettante who has, amazingly, become a cult hero in death mainly because of his looks and a good press agent named Herbert Matthews)and of his effeminate brother Raul as well. I have spoken with Jose Pardo Llada, who was an early supporter of Castro and knew him intimately for many years. Pardo is also one of the main references used by Quirk (he uses Pardo's "Fidel" and "El Che" extensively, for example, in the early chapters) and Pardo feels that Quirk has captured the leadership styles of Castro quite well. Yes, the man is charismatic but also highly erratic and given to extreme highs and extreme lows. He is also very, very clever and knows how to use the stage to his benefit. These are Castro's qualities and behaviors, and Quirk does a solid job in capturing and describing them.
I particularly like the analysis of Castro's youth and of the environment from which he emerged.Read more ›
I was highly impressed with Quirk's narration of the early days of the Cuban Revolution (1959-60), a period when Fidel Castro deceived his liberal and moderate allies in the struggle against Batista back from the Moncada days in 1953, was able to form an alliance with the Communists starting in 1959, consolidating his power as defense minister and eventually having a strong enough power base by mid-1960 when he cancelled elections, suppressed freedom of the press, and started a campaign of property confiscation. Castro's interaction with high level cabinet members is covered, showing his micromanagement style and tendency to provide direction in capricious whims on anything from the agrarian reform to housing projects.Read more ›
The problem to me though, is the book seemed very one sided. There were too many jabs and remarks about Cuba and Castro in the book. Fortunately for me right before reading this book i spent 2 weeks in Cuba *with the people*. Being a musician i was able to get close to Cubans in a way most people can't. With these 2 sources of information (Cuba and the book) I have been able to form my opinion of Castro and of Cuba. I love Cuba and I love the Cubans, AND i'm not a socialist AND i do have some admiration for Castro.
True, Cuban government literature is extremely biased as well, but the people are honest. If this book came with round trip tickets to Cuba you could really get a fairly broad and honest picture of castro and cuba. But since it doesn't, i recommend reading with care.
Please consider this (my 2 cents): 1) i talked with many cubans who feel Castro was a better alternative to the outside (yes U.S.) domination they were facing. Cuba has a very violent and oppressive past. 2) Children of the revolution who do not know life before Castro do not hate him, they seem to like him to some degree. 3) Remember: low crime, little or no domestic violence, little or no child abuse. no drugs, little racism between the Spanish Cubans and the Afro-Cubans. Nearly 100% literacy!
4) The Cuban people are genuinely gentle and kind
I guess Castro should get some credit for some of this, but i didn't find much in this book.
Yes, i'm aware gays are persecuted, people build rafts out of logs to get away, toilets don't flush, and they truck water into the havana.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I started this book with a lot of prejudice pro Castro. The book tears him down to human and often small proportions. Read morePublished on July 14, 2000 by SCHRAMME WILLEM
Prior to reading Quirk's biography of Fidel Castro, I had developed a vehement hatred for Communist Cuba. Read morePublished on April 28, 2000 by Yuli Martov
Truly pathetic, borderline-propaganda crap. I'm not normally so blunt in my comments, but this book is so biased, I don't think it even deserves the time I'm taking to write this... Read morePublished on April 5, 2000
This is obviously a well reserched book. Sometimes a little "heavy" in depth and to extreme detail, however the detailed account of his younger years helps to understand... Read morePublished on December 9, 1999