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Without Fidel: A Death Foretold in Miami, Havana and Washington Hardcover – October 6, 2009

4.0 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Cuban leader Fidel Castro's phoenix-like return from a near death experience in 2006 is a fitting introduction to this exhaustively researched account of one of the world's last communist leaders. Castro's quixotic quest to outlive most of his comrades provides fresh fodder for the "Castro obit industry," and investigative reporter Bardach (Cuba Confidential) obliges with graphic accounts of Castro's numerous health issues. She also reveals many previously unknown family stories, from the illegitimate offspring who've fled Castro's repressive rule, to his relationship with his younger brother and successor Raúl (a "more mindful and empathetic" man). As titillating as these personal details are, Bardach doesn't skimp on the politics or the day-to-day obstacles of Cuban civilians living in grinding poverty. Bardach opens the window wide on the "diplomatic train wreck" that is U.S.-Cuban relations, including Miami's exile community, anti-Castro Beltway establishment members, and the history of U.S. attempts to remove Castro from power. Bardach also exposes hypocrisy in the American anti-terrorism campaign, which seem to give a pass to anyone actively plotting against Castro. Bardach's unmatched access to Castro and other major players makes this a thorough account of a long-lived world figure who, admired or reviled, is an undoubtedly fascinating subject.

About the Author

Ann Louise Bardach is a PEN award-winning investigative journalist who has covered Cuba for fifteen years for the New York TimesVanity Fair,  and many other national publications. She is the author Cuba Confidential: Love and Vengeance in Miami and Havana and is the editor of The Prison Letters of Fidel Castro and Cuba: A Travelers Literary Companion. She teaches International Journalism at the University of California at Santa Barbara.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; 1st edition (October 6, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416551506
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416551508
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,222,047 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
a riveting read of the US incursions, overt and covert, into Cuba to assassinate Fidel Castro. i admire Castro only for his tenacity to survive the behemoth 90 miles away . . . but after choosing the Stalinist "cult of personality" and banishing Che Guevara, the true socialist visionary to Angola and ultimately, to his death in Bolivia, then allowing his beautiful island to sink into near-oblivion, he has shown himself to be just another sociopathic dictator. how ironic that he, in the end, has cashed in on the United States return to Cuba . . . surely the gods are weeping.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a great analysis of why Cuba and the USA have not mended fences. The US has reached out to former enemies in the Soviet Union, Red China, North Korea, and even Vietnam. They have relations with these nations, even though there is distrust. The Cuban regime is a different matter. 20% of the Cubans have emigrated out of Cuba and form a resolute block on making common cause with the Communist regime in Havanna. These aging Cuban Americans have prevented a foreign policy reapproachment with Cuba.

Two have to tangle in this deceit, and Fidel Castro has still wielded the nationalist bat against the American "Empire". He continues to stir up trouble, even though his country is shattered economically. Fidel will not live forever, but his rage against America continues to influence the policy of his brother Raul.

The author has written a down the middle review of what troubles Cuba-American relations. Both sides have to give to receive. In the process of giving, there could be real economic and political changes in Cuba. However, the Fidelistas need to give up the government, and the Cuban American community has to overturn these rotten laws Washington has enacted.

I felt this is a needed book of reform for both Washington and Havanna. Change can help heal the rift in Cuban American relations.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book very well written and gave extensive history of actions against Castro. Surprising information on the George Bush family connection to Cuba and the Miami Cuban community many covert operationagainst Castro and other Latin American dictators. However, I was looking for future for Cuba speculation on after the Castro's are gone.
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Format: Hardcover
Ms. Bardach's knowledge of Cuba and Fidel is unsurpassed. She presents a reporter's view: unbiased and crisp information exposing a failed system run by a prideful dictator who refuses to let go. She makes the point that all of the players are getting too old for this, it is time to move on. Everyone should read this book, particularly younger generations of Cubans on both sides of the water that want to connect with lost family, culture and history.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you want to know how we came to the current impasse with Cuba this is an excellent well-documented, well-written book. As a seasoned Cuba traveler I recommend this along with Julia Sweig's Cuba: What Everyone Needs to Know.
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Format: Hardcover
Forget the ranting/tiresome political stances and how they polarize discussion of Cuban affairs--on either side of the argument, and both sides of the Florida Straits as well as both sides of the Atlantic. Ann Bardach's research and writing about current realities and ancient historical disputes over Cuba are unmatched by any American (and probably all European writers on the topic as well). I've followed her writing for years, and have known the inside edge of these issues, too. From what I know of her examination of Cuban issues (not what I *believe* is any bias she would have), I can say without hesitation that Ms Bardach has no ax to grind whatsoever. She is the old-school journalist who cares only for uncovering a story, confirming sources, and then carefully reporting the truth without any bias for politics.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very balanced and interesting book. One of the most balanced books I've read on the subject. I would have loved a bunch of pictures in the next edition of the book. This book is definitely worth a read although the death plot stories were too many, and went on and on, just a few examples would have been enough. I look forward to the update, in light of facts in 2015. a lot has happened since 2009.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book suffered greatly from its lack of proper editing which showed in its annoying repetition and digression. Greatly entertaining and informative was the writing on Fidel, Raul, the Castro clan and their machinations, and the author should have stayed with that. But she apparently decided to unload everything she had discovered over the years about: Cuban exile politics, CIA's shenanigans and the Bush family's antipathy for the Castros. There were actually two or three books brewed into this production without a coherent arrangement and reading it became a slog. A lot less would have been a lot more.
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