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The Prison Letters of Fidel Castro Paperback – February 9, 2007

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The Prison Letters of Fidel Castro + In Defense of Socialism: Four Speeches on the 30th Anniversary of the Cuban Revolution (Fidel Castro Speeches, Vol. 4, 1988-89)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Nation Books (February 9, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560259833
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560259831
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #923,012 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Ann Louise Bardach is an award-winning investigative journalist who has been covering Cuba for ten years for The New York Times, Vanity Fair and other national publications. She has appeared on 60 Minutes, Today, Dateline, CNN, The O’Reilly Factor, Charlie Rose and NPR. She is the author of Cuba Confidential and lives in Santa Barbara, CA.

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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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Gus on July 17, 2010
Format: Paperback
First, let me warn you that this book was put together by people that absolutely hate Fidel Castro. The introduction talks about how he is at best a "movie star dictator" and at worst an "unforgiving tyrant." Even though it is a great book, many people will be turned off by how bad of a taste the introduction puts into your mouth. The man can't even get to tell his side of the story without interruption (in this book, at least).

That being said, this is a great look at Fidel Castro as he wanted to tell the story. This was originally published the year Fidel took power, 1959. It does a great job of showing Fidel's true range of emotions while in prison.

My favorite topics covered here include (this is by no means a complete list):

1. Getting Fidel's son a good education
2. Fidel showing that he is a God fearing man, and
3. His planning the seeds of the revolution

There is also a phenominal letter written to the father of one of the men who died in the attack that put Fidel in prison. I could never do justice to how beautifully written that letter is, but I will say it is worth the price of the book to see how deeply loving Fidel can be while in prison.

The letters only go from December of 1953 to May of 1955, so this isn't a biography of his life. For that, I recommend "Fidel Castro Handbook" by George Galloway.

But, this book is a great addition to anyone that wants to know what Fidel Castro is like without the intense hatred and bias from the so called "Liberal Media" in the United States.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Charlie J. Cato on June 26, 2010
Format: Paperback
The Prison Letters of Fidel Castro give an honest and in his own words look into the life of the person, lawyer and revolutionary, Fidel Castro, while imprisoned from 1953 until 1955.
How to read this book: Castro has always been demonized by American Society... No different than how American Presidents have been demonized by Cuba. Recognizing all of this as nothing more than tribalistic nationalism, it is important to read this book without such prejudice and try to see what Castro was trying to obtain for his people and himself instead of how those pursuits might or might not be in America's interest.
In his letters to friends and relatives Castro's unwavering resolve for the Cuban people is always evident. His goal seems to be an honest desire for Cuban's to have the best lives possible, meaning a revolution against Batista, and he seems willing to die in that pursuit. It is important to note, as Castro does often, that life under Batista was not pretty. Widespread corruption, illiteracy, casinos, brothels, U.S. companies buying up all the businesses, a 20% unemployment rate. When you realize how Castro saw life for Cubans under Batista, and when you add to that the support given to Batista by the United States, it is not easy to see why Castro had issues with both.
The Castro of the 60's and beyond is a discussion for another book and maybe another review. But the case made by Castro in his Prison Letters shows a man with a justifiable concern for his countrymen and an unwavering desire for a justifiable revolution.
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By SAFIYA D. HOSKINS on June 26, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As with most books providing an unbiased perspective or lending an authentic voice to Fidel Castro, 'The Prison Letters' is profound, honest and impactful. It serves to provide a deeper insight into the heart and spirit of a fearless leader. It is imperative that anyone who is interested in Cuba, Castro or world history read this book.
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