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200 × 130 × 10 mm
160 pages
23 illustrations
01 Feb 2013
Critical Lives
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Fidel Castro Nick Caistor

The Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro is one of the most written-about men in the world today. Most approaches to his life are either glowing hagiographies, or critical rants in which he is portrayed as a dictator who has kept the island of Cuba under his heel. By contrast, Nick Caistor brings together personal details and a discussion of the ideas driving Castro throughout his life; his ultimate aim is to give readers the opportunity to judge for themselves whether or not, as Castro himself once said, ‘history will absolve me’.

Fidel Castro not only brought revolution to Cuba, but also wielded power there almost unchallenged for nearly 50 years; finally stepping down at the age of 81, due to ill health, in February 2008. Broadcaster and journalist Nick Caistor has interviewed a huge variety of those who have known Castro at different times in his life, and who range from bitter opponents to his staunchest allies. Their stories and opinions in this book enliven the debate about the Cuban leader’s choices, strengths and weaknesses.

‘As former BBC Latin America analyst Nick Caistor writes in this highly readable and refreshingly balanced biography, Fidel Castro is an inimitable and complicated figure who, for better or worse, has forged a place in the pantheon of consequential leaders in the modern era . . . a book that packs an enormous historical and analytical punch, despite being only around 150 pages long.’ — Survival: Global Politics and Strategy

‘For those interested in learning more about Cuban history and the man behind the cigar-smoking, bearded icon, Nick Caistors new biography Fidel Castro should be of interest. Its brief, flows smoothly through six decades, and outlines the development of Castros political consciousness and official ideology, from Nationalism to Communism and back again.’ — Tweeds Review

‘Historys verdict on Castro is yet to come, but Caistor has done a fine job laying out the arguments both for and against his longstanding claims to absolution. A fascinating, highly readable, and extremely well-balanced account’ — Jon Lee Anderson, staff writer at The New Yorker and author of Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life

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Nick Caistor is a former BBC Latin American analyst, and Latin American editor of Index on Censorship magazine. He broadcasts regularly on Latin American literature and art. He is the author of Mexico City: A Cultural and Literary Companion (1999) and Octavio Paz (Reaktion, 2007). He is editor of two anthologies and has translated many novels by Latin American and Spanish authors.

1. Down on the Farm
2. Defying the Dictator
3. Making the Revolution
4. Missiles and Marxism
5. Revolution and the State
6. Losing the Plot
7. The Special Period
8. Time’s Wingèd Chariot
Conclusion: The Great Survivor
Select Bibliography
Photo Acknowledgements