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Fidel and Che: A Revolutionary Friendship by…

Fidel and Che: A Revolutionary Friendship (2009)

by Simon Reid-Henry

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9813185,674 (3.53)3



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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This was a fantastic book on the relationship and history of Fidel & Che. Both of these men need to be studied together as their rise to power was brought about the characteristics and actions of these men in combination with each other. ( )
  beebowallace | Aug 5, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This book sets out to be a biography about the relationship between Fidel Castro and Che. I found it to be a bit dry and not especially engaging. The information itself was ok but not really anything new. ( )
  nicolaerricotenaglia | Nov 10, 2011 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Most of what I know about Cuba comes from the week or two we spent studying Cuba in World History back in high school and the paragraph or two that accompanies any NY Times or Newsweek article giving context to whatever latest outrage between the US and Cuba happens to be. As this is a biography, and not a history, this book focuses more on Fidel Castro and Che Guevara's personal relationship and how that relationship shaped their political fortunes, but there is plenty of back-story and provides a good history of the Cuban revolution. The overall tone is very even handed, with Castro and Che being neither demonized as horrible monsters nor put on a pedestal as revolutionary heroes and saviors. Having finished it, I feel that I have a much better handle on the history and motivations of the Cuban communist revolution. ( )
  craigim | Jun 21, 2010 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
A very well written biography of two of the most well known revolutionaries in Cuba. I liked the neutral tone set by the author, and you do not need to be a history buff to enjoy this book. There were a lot of interesting facts for me, a relative newbie to Fidel Castra. I read Motorcycle Diaries, so I know a little about Che's early life, and this book definitely shed some new light on this man. ( )
  TheNovelWorld | Apr 8, 2010 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I was unable to write this review at first, as I was uncertain if I should be reviewing the book that was written or the book that the writer wanted to write. Simon Reid-Henry wanted to write a history of the friendship between the two driving forces of the Cuban Revolution, and how their friendship surmounted the obstacles caused by victory.

Most other authors have written from the viewpoint that after achieving power, Fidel Castro concentrated on governance while Che Guevara wanted to export the revolution to Africa and South America. Reid-Henry’s view is that the acrimonious separation between the two was mostly for show, what a later generation would term “plausible deniability”. Since the principles involved never talked, the evidence seems skimpy. Also, the narrative suffers since Reid-Henry understandably leaves out most other major characters in the revolution. For instance, Raul Castro does not appear until just before the assault on the Moncada Barracks. Yet he had been a communist for years, and as Fidel’s brother presumably had a longer influence on his thinking. Many authors feel that Fidel Castro was radicalized long before Guevara had joined the Cuban Revolution, and that he (Castro) had not acted before, so he could keep his options open within traditional Cuban politics. Since Guevara joined just at the outbreak of the armed struggle, when traditional politics ended, Reid-Henry feels that this shows the extent of Guevara’s influence.

While the book was perhaps not convincing of the author’s viewpoint, it is still a good read. Many of the episodes recounted do seem to illuminate the relationship between Castro and Guevara.

The pre-publication copy sent for reviewing had its share of typos, and there were no maps or index. My one serious quibble is with the constant use of first names. Once Camilo Cienfuegos, or Calica Ferrer enters the story, there is no further use of last names. (Oddly, the only person this seems not to apply to is Batista.) I find this modern trend rather irritating. (Will the index list by first names also?) ( )
  WLFobe | Dec 13, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0802715737, Hardcover)

A unique dual portrait shines new light on two of the most dramatic figures of the twentieth century.

Drawing on sources in Cuba, Latin America, the United States, Europe, and Russia, and on material not available to previous biographers, Simon Reid-Henry has crafted a compelling portrait of a revolutionary era and the two men whose names and deeds personify it: Fidel Castro and Che Guevara. What began as an association of convenience would fundamentally shape their political visions, propelling them further than either had dared imagine. Ironically, though, their jointly conceived vision of revolution would ultimately force them to choose between friendship and their beliefs.

At a momentous turning point in Cuban history, Simon Reid-Henry offers a fascinating and original chronicle of two of the most powerful personalities in recent memory.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:04 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Draws on previously unavailable material to present a dual portrait of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara set against a backdrop of Cuba's revolutionary era, describing how their initial association of convenience was to fundamentally shape their political visions.… (more)

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