The surprising story of Che Guevara, Fidel Castro, and the scrappy band of rebel men and women who followed them. Most people are familiar with the basics of the Cuban Revolution of 1956-1959: it was led by two of the twentieth century's most charismatic figures, Fidel Castro and Che Guevara; it successfully overthrew the island nation's US-backed dictator; and it quickly went awry under Fidel's rule. But less is remembered about the amateur nature of the movement or the lives of its players. In this wildly entertaining and meticulously researched account, historian and journalist Tony Perrottet unravels the human drama behind history's most improbable revolution: a scruffy handful of self-taught revolutionaries--many of them kids just out of college, literature majors, and art students, and including a number of extraordinary women--who defeated 40,000 professional soldiers to overthrow the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista. Cuba Libre 's deep dive into the revolution reveals fascinating details: How did Fidel's highly organized lover Celia S nchez whip the male guerrillas into shape? Who were the two dozen American volunteers who joined the Cuban rebels? How do you make land mines from condensed milk cans--or, for that matter, cook chorizo la guerrilla (sausage guerrilla-style)? Cuba Libre is an absorbing look back at a liberation movement that captured the world's imagination with its spectacular drama, foolhardy bravery, tragedy, and, sometimes, high comedy--and that set the stage for Cold War tensions that pushed the world to the brink of nuclear war.
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- ISBN-13: 9780735218161
- ISBN-10: 0735218161
- Publisher: Blue Rider Press
- Publish Date: January 2019
- Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 1.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
- Page Count: 384
Only the hoariest among us remember when the Cuban revolution was chic and Fidel Castro was feted as a modern-day Robin Hood. In his fast-paced and highly entertaining book Cuba Libre!, Tony Perrottet spotlights the bright hopes that propelled the revolution and the herculean effort that enabled a ragtag band to defeat a dictator’s army of 40,000 in just over two years.
President Fulgencio Batista began a reign in 1952 that was remarkable for its corruption and brutality. Castro’s career as a rebel against Batista began a year later, with a failed attack on an army barrack. After his release from prison, Castro retreated to Mexico to plan further resistance. There he met and enlisted the Argentinean doctor Ernesto “Che” Guevara. With a band of 82 men, Castro returned to Cuba by sea in late 1956. A disastrous landing led to most of his troops being captured or killed. The few survivors took refuge in the rugged Sierra Maestra range and trained their eyes on distant Havana.
Perrottet relies on contemporary newspaper accounts and journals to depict the perilous living conditions in the mountains, explain the essential roles of female leaders and illustrate Castro’s genius in public relations. The victories against Batista grew slowly but inexorably and were, for the most part, chronicled sympathetically by the American media. Finally, Castro made his triumphant entry into Havana on January 8, 1959. His honeymoon with the U.S. lasted only a few months, until it became clear that he really did intend to reform the Cuban economy at the expense of those who had drained it.