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The real Fidel Castro / Leycester Coltman ;…
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The real Fidel Castro / Leycester Coltman ; with a foreword by Julia E.…

by Leycester Coltman

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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0300107609, Paperback)

Who is the real Fidel Castro? Some would characterize the longtime Cuban ruler as a ruthless dictator, crushing all opposition and starving his own people to feed his own hunger for power. Others point to a revolutionary leader who has adhered to Marxist-Leninist principles while being popular enough at home to outlast nine American presidents. Former British Ambassador to Cuba Leycester Coltman provides an exhaustively researched history of Castro and reveals a man constantly driven by passion, usually able to lead by force of personality, and possessed of a subtle ability to shift his politics in order to maintain an advantage. The Real Fidel Castro traces his middle-class upbringing and career as a student agitator who swiftly gained notice both positive and negative for taking part in revolutionary politics throughout Latin America. Later, Castro, having failed in initial attempts to overthrow General Fulgencio Batista, takes to the jungle along with Che Guevara to prepare for what would eventually be a successful coup. Once in power, however, the revolutionary must learn to be a diplomat and a political strategist as he navigates a messy victory in the Bay of Pigs conflict and suffers an embarrassing defeat in the Cuban missile crisis. While he is often characterized as having been a mere puppet of the old Soviet Union, Coltman's portrayal indicates the relationship was much more complicated; Castro recognized the need for a strong ally who also opposed the United States but questioned the ideology of the Soviets and worried over what the proposed reforms of Mikhail Gorbachev would bring to the world's largest Communist nation. Although Coltman came to know Castro while serving in Havana, he doesn't gloss over the swift executions given to those who defied "the revolution" or Castro's penchant for imprisoning those thought to be politically dangerous. In the end, Coltman, who died shortly before this book's publication, is nonjudgmental and shows Fidel Castro to be a man as complex as the world he lived in. --John Moe

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:29 -0400)

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