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The Moncada Attack: Birth of the Cuban Revolution Hardcover – June 30, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-1570036729 ISBN-10: 1570036721 Edition: 1st
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

On July 26, 1953, Fidel Castro, then a lawyer and staunch opponent of the Batista dictatorship, led a group of followers in an attack on the Cuban army garrisons at Moncada and Bayamo. The attacks were poorly planned and executed and ended in disastrous failure. Castro, who later surrendered, displayed a remarkable ability to manipulate public perceptions. At his trial and famous history will absolve me speech, he painted the attack as a ringing success in the opening struggle against tyranny. Today, of course, the attack is celebrated across Cuba as the beginning of the revolution. De la Cova is a native of Havana and an assistant professor of Latino studies at Indiana University. He has provided a systematic and scrupulously balanced study of the attacks and their aftermath that serves to dispel many of the myths that have been propagated and accepted for decades. Previous accounts were overly dependent on official versions, but the author has utilized extensive interviews with survivors from both sides. This is a valuable reexamination of a pivotal event. Freeman, Jay
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From the Inside Flap

"Though the Cuban civil war of the late 1950s has been well-documented, not as widely known outside of Cuba is an attack made in July 1953 by a band of rebels led by Fidel Castro against the large Moncada barracks. Though the attack failed, it signaled the emergence of Castro on the national scene. Minute by minute, step by step, Antonio de la Cova has traced the background and action of these events. The result of three decades of in-depth research, delving through primary documents, and interviewing survivors, The Moncada Attack is a tour de force and places de la Cova in the front ranks of historians writing about Cuba."--Jay Mallin, Sr., author of Covering Castro: Rise and Decline of Cuba's Communist Dictator

"From the beginning of the Cuban Republic on May 20, 1902, there had never been as bloody and tragic a day in Cuban history as July 26, 1953 when Fidel Castro sought to make a name for himself with an armed attack on the Moncada garrison in Santiago de Cuba. Antonio de la Cova's book constitutes the most thorough and serious historical account ever written of that infamous episode in Cuban history."--U.S. Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart, Florida's Twenty-First District

"Few topics remain as shrouded in humbug as the Cuban Revolution. A barrier of strict taboos has hindered researchers in this field, but de la Cova--to the immense benefit of anyone interested in facts--crosses that barrier and thus debunks the most cherished tenets of Castro apologia. In this book we see Fidel Castro as a shrewd megalomaniac with little regard for human life and with a clear plan for Cuba. De la Cova has a fanatical penchant for ascertaining facts. The result is this fascinating and groundbreaking book, surely a landmark in Cuba scholarship."--Humberto Fontova, author of Fidel: Hollywood's Favorite Tyrant and Exposing The Real Che Guevara and The Useful Idiots Who Idolize Him

"Since the early 1950s, Castro's revolution has been a great source of myths, false or over-inflated statements, and political fairy tales. Finally, Antonio de la Cova gives us a well-documented book that demystifies the past and tells what really happened on that sad, legendary day of July 26, 1953, at the Moncada barracks."--Paquito D'Rivera, author of My Sax Life: A Memoir


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 391 pages
  • Publisher: University of South Carolina; 1st edition (June 30, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1570036721
  • ISBN-13: 978-1570036729
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #801,289 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Laurence Daley on July 15, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
de la Cova, Antonio Rafael. 2007 The Moncada Attack: Birth of the Cuban Revolution.. University of South Carolina Press ISBN-10: 1570036721 ISBN-13: 978-1570036729

This is the most carefully researched study of the attack on the Moncada Barracks in Santiago de Cuba on July 26, 1953 ever produced to date.

This attack and its failure started Fidel Castro on his way to international notoriety. Every detail of this complex event is covered, and every point made in a scholarly and impartial manner.

Now forget what you have read before on this topic, for most of what "you know" is incorrect. In this book we clearly see the first large fruiting of Castro's devious and Machiavellic mind, and we clearly discern a project which was an intentional military failure and yet an immense propaganda victory for its originator.

This book is even more detailed and thorough than Sun Shuyun, 2006 "The Long March," but reveals a parallel theme: communist propaganda has built false edifices of history, and on the altars in these obscene temples many naïve innocents were sacrificed by tens of millions to the gods of Marxist history. And as we know now all has turned to ashes.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By kickit on June 7, 2008
Format: Hardcover
As an avid fan of historical books, I was pleased to find a book about the Cuban Revolution, a topic that I had little knowledge of. This book is very well reaserched and is extremely informative. Prior to the writing of theis book, de la Cova interviewed dozens of rebels, soldiers, and civilians invloved with the Moncada attack, making his observations relativelly unbiased. Also, de la Cova uses the accounts of medical professionals and others present to refute some of the myths associated with the Moncada attack, including parts of the black legend, which held that some of the rebels were brutally tortured and killed after the attack.

Though de la Cova takes a staunch anti-Castro stand in this book, which is expected, he does not attempt to justify the actions of Batista's soldiers following the attack. He portrays Castro as an authoritarian tyrant using accounts of the rebels that he commanded.

I also liked the way de la Cova wrote the book. He did not spend paragraph after paragraph describing facts and statistics in great detail, which would have made the book hard to read. The book is similar to the works of Stephen Ambrose and other war writers in that it focuses primarily on oral history. I was never bored while reading this book.

The only real problem that I had with "The Moncada Attack" was that de la Cova has a tendency to repeat himself a lot during his writings. For instance, he compared Castro's Moncada Attack to Hitlers Beer Hall Putsch on at least three occassions. However, this was not a big problem and it seemed that the repetitions helped me remember some of the facts later on. This book is a great read for anyone who enjoys historical novels like I do or just wants to be entertained.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By S. Brown on August 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover
"La historia me absolverá" was Fidel Castro's concluding defense statement for his Moncada Attack, hinting of his own sense of self-importance and his desire to be in the pages of history and it is the launching point for his endless propaganda speeches about a better future for Cuba of historical importance. In this book Mr. de la Cova puts forth a detailed, well researched, factual accounting of the Moncada Attack for the true historical record.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jorge Vazquez on July 26, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The Moncada attack is not an easy ride. De La Cova has done a masterful job putting the facts together of events that launched the Cuban Revolution. It will require patience b ythe reader to get through the book, but it is well worth it.

Main points I got out of it:

1) It completely debunks the myth that US policy pushed Castro into the Communist side. De La Cova shows that Castro's decision to align himself with communism was all Castro and had nothing to do with US policy From the beginning his personality was well suited for this.

2) The comparisons with Hilter are chilling and expose, once again, his true intensions from the beginning.

A must read for anyone interested in Cuban History.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By harold searles on November 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is a good book about the early days of Fidel Castro. Studends who want to know about the early days of the Castro takeover will be pleasantly surprised.
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