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Playa Girón/Bay of Pigs: Washington's First Military Defeat in the Americas Paperback – April 1, 2001


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Playa Girón/Bay of Pigs: Washington's First Military Defeat in the Americas + Bay of Pigs Declassified: The Secret CIA Report on the Invasion of Cuba (National Security Archive Documents) + The Brilliant Disaster: JFK, Castro, and America's Doomed Invasion of Cuba's Bay of Pigs
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 278 pages
  • Publisher: Pathfinder Pr; 1st edition (April 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 087348925X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0873489256
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,459,613 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A varied collection of speeches, communiqués and testimonies from the time, by those such as Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, are presented. These well catch the knife-edged political tension and subsequent triumph of the momentous days in April 1961. Using fascinating military maps, photographs and a full chronology of the time, the book provides previously unpublished details surrounding the CIA-backed invasion and the subsequent defeat of the 1,500 US mercenaries at the Bay of Pigs.... [Gives] a real feel for the bravery and conviction of the revolutionary Cuban forces, and their willingness to defend the socialist principles of the Revolution at any cost.... provides invaluable inspiration." -- An Phoblacht/Republican news

"Includes translations of a dozen Cuban primary source documents on the U.S.-backed invasion at the Bay of Pigs.... also contains a 48-page transcript of José Ramón Fernández Alvarez's 1999 testimony about his role leading Cuban troops against the invaders at Playa Giron. Photographs, maps, and charts throughout the book provide a useful supplement to the text." -- Hispanic American Historical Review

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Spanish

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

Customer Reviews

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Instead of spending time in the water, I just sat there and read this book until it was too dark to read.
Tony Thomas
He tells what happened from a very human and personal point of view, revealing his own mistakes and weaknesses, and recounting some humorous episodes as well.
hatlanta
This book is an eye-opening account of the defeat of the April, 1961 U.S. invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs.
Ellen Haywood

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ellen Haywood on April 19, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book is an eye-opening account of the defeat of the April, 1961 U.S. invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs. Jose Ramon Fernandez, the commander of the Cuban armed forces at Playa Giron, the scene of the invasion explains step by step how the recently formed militias of Cuban workers and peasants vanquished a 1500 strong mercenary force backed by the U.S. military. He reveals key decisions that were made by the Cuban central command, for example, the decision to send the small Cuban airforce to bomb the U.S. supply ships stranding and demoralizing the landing units. The book contains an inciteful speech by Fidel Castro which helps to explain how the U.S. government not only conceived and gave birth to the invasion but then denied paternity. As with other Pathfinder books, this one has deeply revealing photos, maps, illustrations, glossary and chronology. You'll have a hard time putting the book down.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on June 8, 2001
Format: Paperback
Playa Giron/Bay Of Pigs: Washington's First Military Defeat In The Americas offers detailed and authoritative information on the historic and ill-fated invasion of Cuba by U.S.-backed forces popularly referred to as the Bay of Pigs. Included are three contemporary speeches by Fidel Castro informing and rallying the Cuban people and describing to the socialist character of the revolution. Jose Ramon Fernandez (today a vice president of Cuba) was at the time of the military incursion, the commander of the main column of Cuban forces which successfully repelled the CIA-organized and American supplied forces at Playa Giron. Highly recommended reading for students of Cuban and American international studies and history, the informative text is enhanced with more than two dozen maps and charts, dozens of photographs, a chronology of events, a glossary, and an index.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By hatlanta on April 17, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is a timely book published just before the 40th anniversary of the Bay of Pigs. It's a great way to learn about what really happened from the first-hand accounts of the Cuban revolutionaries who defeated the US-backed invasion. If you've never read a speech by Fidel Castro, there are a couple of very good ones in this book. You'll not only learn about what happened at the Bay of Pigs, but you'll also learn why the Cuban people smashed this invasion so swiftly and decisively. Another great part of the book is the testimony of Jose Ramon Fernandez who commanded troops in the thick of the fighting. There are maps, charts, all the details of the battle. But it's not a dry or boring account. He tells what happened from a very human and personal point of view, revealing his own mistakes and weaknesses, and recounting some humorous episodes as well. Finally, the foreword of the book tells a fascinating story of how a group of young people at Carleton College organized support for the Cuban revolution and against the US invasion and what they learned about politics. I think you'll be surprised as you read the book about how relevant this forty-year-old event is today.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Warren Simons on April 19, 2001
Format: Paperback
What makes this book so informative is it gives the Cuban perspective on the U.S.-backed Bay of Pigs invasion. It is also a great primer for understanding what the socialist revolution in Cuba is all about.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Tony Thomas on August 2, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I first read this book the first day of beach season. Instead of spending time in the water, I just sat there and read this book until it was too dark to read. This account is an activist account of the fight from Cuban and US fighters who see and saw the US invasion and resistance in Cuba and the United States not as history to be deciphered but part of an ongoing struggle against imperialism, against war, and for the power of working people. I never stopped caring; I never stopped seeing what was hidden from me in 1961, I never stopped seeing lessons for the future. A good read.
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