Cover image for The real Fidel Castro
The real Fidel Castro
Coltman, Leycester.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New Haven : Yale University Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
x, 335 pages : illustrations, map ; 25 cm
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Table of contents
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Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
F1788.22.C3 C59 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
F1788.22.C3 C59 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Rhetoric during and after the Cold War years has painted starkly contrasting portraits of Cuba's Fidel Castro: an unblemished idealist on the one hand, a ruthless dictator on the other. This book, an intimate and dispassionate biography of the revolutionary leader, shows that neither assessment is true. close to personal friendship with Castro as any foreigner was permitted. With frequent contact and regular conversations, Coltman was in a unique position to observe the dictator's personality in both public and private situations. Here he presents a close-up view of the man who for half a century has been loved, admired, feared, and hated, but seldom really understood. the political activism of his university days in Havana to periods of exile, imprisonment, and guerilla warfare alongside Che Guevara, to the uncertainties of his old age. Drawing on personal observation and archival sources in Cuba and abroad, Coltman explores the contradiction between the private character and the public reputation, and highlights the complexities of the consummate actor who continues to play a crucial role on the international stage.

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

In a remarkably evenhanded and illuminating biography, Coltman (former British ambassador to Cuba) reveals how Fidel Castro repeatedly has frustrated his foes: surviving defeat, exile, and imprisonment to bring down Batista in the early 1950s; misleading American politicians long enough to secure absolute power over his island nation; forging an advantageous alliance with the Kremlin; and preserving his regime in a post-Cold War world dominated by Cuba's powerful capitalist neighbor. Long personal conversations enable Coltman to penetrate a psyche still opaque to most scholars. It will chafe Castro's detractors that Coltman discerns in that psyche rare courage and resourcefulness. But it will vex Castro's admirers that Colman exposes deep political inconsistencies (an early opponent to Soviet imperialism, Castro metamorphosed into a slavish Soviet supporter) and personal callousness (marriage never restrained the revolutionary libido). Detractors and devotees alike will marvel at how the young prisoner who resorted to invisible ink to inscribe History Will Absolve Me has aged into an old man in a historical riptide that he can already feel pulling him into oblivion. --Bryce Christensen Copyright 2003 Booklist