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My Early Years Paperback – October, 1998

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Paperback, October, 1998
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--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Few political figures of the 20th century have attracted the attention of biographers as has Cuban leader Fidel Castro. Any new work by him would be an important event in publishing history. Unfortunately, this volume is not such an event. This is an accumulation of parts of two previously published interviews, Fidel and Religion (Ocean, 1987) and Arturo Alape's De los recuerdos de Fidel Castro (Havana, Cuba: Editora Politica, 1984), and a reprinted section of a Castro speech published in Fidel Castro's Cuba at the Crossroads (Ocean, 1997). Even the introduction by Gabriel Garcia Marquez is a reprint. This accumulation doesn't quite work because the sections are out of context and consequently do not really connect. The only possible value of this collection is the English translation of Alape's interview. Unless a library is looking for a brief survey of Castro's early life, forget this book and get the originals or any one of a large number of biographies (e.g., Robert Quick's Fidel Castro, Norton, 1995) and other Castro-related books that are available.?Mark L. Grover, Brigham Young Univ. Lib., Provo, UT
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

· Fidel Castro went into exile on his release from prison after initiating an armed attack against the Batista dictatorship. One night in Mexico he met a young Argentine doctor Ernesto Guevara. They talked until dawn, sharing their ideas and dreams, when "Che" agreed to join the expedition back to Cuba to restore popular rule. The rest is history Deborah Shnookal has also edited the "José Martí Reader," "One Hundred Red Hot Years" and "Manifesto." Gabriel García Márquez is a winner of the Nobel Prize for literature, and has published numerous works of fiction and nonfiction alike.
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Ocean Press (AU) (October 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1876175079
  • ISBN-13: 978-1876175078
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.4 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,261,499 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Fidel Castro Ruz was born in Birán, in the former province of Oriente, on August 13, 1926. Born into a well-off landowning family, he received his primary education in a rural school, later attended private Jesuit schools in Santiago de Cuba and Havana, and graduated from law school at the University of Havana (described in My Early Years and Fidel and Religion). As a student, he volunteered for an armed expedition against the Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic and was in Colombia to help organize a Latin American anti-imperialist student congress when the April 1948 popular uprising occurred in Bogotá. After Fulgencio Batista's 1952 coup, Fidel Castro organized and led an unsuccessful attack on the Moncada army garrison in Santiago de Cuba on July 26, 1953. While in prison, Fidel Castro edited his defense speech from the trial into the pamphlet History Will Absolve Me, which was distributed in tens of thousands of copies and became the program of what was to become the revolutionary July 26 Movement. Originally sentenced to 15 years, he and his comrades were released from prison 22 months later, in May 1955, as a result of a growing public campaign. Exiled to Mexico, he organized a guerrilla expedition to Cuba to launch a guerrilla movement to overthrow Batista. Arriving aboard the cabin cruiser Granma, for the next two years, Fidel Castro led the Rebel Army. On January 1, 1959, Batista fled Cuba. In response to a call by Fidel, hundreds of thousands of Cubans launched an insurrectionary general strike that ensured the victory of the revolution. Fidel Castro arrived triumphantly in Havana on January 8 as commander-in-chief of Cuba's victorious Rebel Army. On February 13, 1959, he was named prime minister, a position he held until December 1976, when he became president of the Council of State and the Council of Ministers. One of history's greatest orators, for nearly five decades, Fidel Castro has been an outspoken advocate for the rights of Third World and other oppressed peoples at international forums such as the Movement of Nonaligned Countries and the United Nations. A selection of his famous speeches was published in Fidel Castro Reader. On July 31, 2006, shortly before his 80th birthday, Fidel Castro handed over all his positions in the Cuban government to his brother Raúl. "Fidel's devotion to the word is almost magical." -- Gabriel García Márquez "Fidel is the leader of one of the smallest countries in the world, but he has helped to shape the destinies of millions of people across the globe." --Angela Davis "Fidel Castro is a man of the masses& The Cuban revolution has been a source of inspiration to all freedom-loving people." --Nelson Mandela "Fidel's is a singing and dancing intellect& In Fidel this passion is expressed in his priestly dedication to revolution." --Alice Walker

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Format: Paperback
This book consists of one lengthy speech that El Commandante favored students with at his alma matter, the University of Havanna law school in 1995, and a few long interviews, including his famous 1985 interview with the Brazilian priest, Frei Betto. Gabriel Garcia Marquez has a very good introductory essay, with some personal reflection on his buddy Fidel.

If you are a good right thinking American, you probably consider Fidel Castro an evil dictator, even though most Americans the polls show, favor a lifting of the embargo. Well whether you consider him a monster, a somewhat brutal benign dictator (as I do) or as a holy saint (as Fidel hints he thinks himself at some points in this collection), this book is a fine piece of literature. Fidel is a first rate storyteller, he evokes the images of his life in a simple and clear style and is able to impart to the reader the rather inspiring gusto and confidence with which he went about life in his early years.

Cuba pre-1959 was a very wealthy country and put up some good numbers but most of the wealth was concentrated in the hands of an indiginous elite, significantly tied to American investors. Once the United States grabbed Cuba after 1898, much of the land was handed off cheaply to U.S. investors. Castro describes how his father was an extremely poor Spanish immigrant who arrived in Cuba in the late 1890's as a soldier in the Spanish army that was barbarically trying to repress the Cuban independence movement. His father, Angel, over the years managed by his own enterprize to eventually become a pretty successful landowner out in the sticks of Oriente Province. His mother, a native Cuban, also was extremely poor growing up.
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Format: Paperback
Fidel Castro remains one of the dominant political figures of all time, certainly the most controversial and impactful political leader Latin America produced in the 20th century. The Cuban Revolution was an important moment in the history of the Americas, one can easily see it's influence in later movements such as the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, Salvador Allende in Chile and in our own time Hugo Chavez in Venezuela and Evo Morales in Bolivia. "Fidel: My Early Years" is a great collection of material where Castro himself discusses his youth from his childhood in Cuba to his student years up to the time right before the revolution. Political and history students must read this volume which gives a clear insight into the vast intellect and powerful speaking skills of Castro. Colombian Nobel-Prize winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez opens the book with a wonderful essay where he describes his long-time friend and his eccentricities, sleepless working hours, voracious reading habits, passions, angers and hopes. Marquez with true eloquence captures a giant of revolutionary movements. Excerpts from major works such as "Fidel & Religion" are featured where Castro discusses his religious upbringing (mostly from his mother) and the poverty and suffering Cuba's campesinos and blacks suffered under U.S. imperialism. He also makes a point of supporting Haiti, which has also been ravaged by colonial abuse. There are fascinating moments such as Castro's discussions of his time in Colombia where he witnessed the political upheaval resulting from the assasination of the reformist Gaitan who Castro (and many others) suspect was assassinated in a plot hatched by Colombia's elites.Read more ›
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