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Young Castro

The Making of a Revolutionary

Jonathan M. Hansen

$29.99

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SIMON451
05 August 2020
Biography: historical, political & military; History; 20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000
This intimate, revisionist portrait of Fidel Castro, showing how an unlikely young Cuban led his country in revolution and transfixed the world, is sure to become the standard on Castro's early life (Publishers Weekly).

Until now, biographers have treated Castro's life like prosecutors, scouring his past for evidence to convict a person they don't like or don't understand. Young Castro challenges us to put aside the caricature of a bearded, cigar-munching, anti-American hothead to discover how Castro became the dictator who acted as a thorn in the side of US presidents for nearly half a century.

In this gripping and edifying narrative...

Hansen brings imposing research and notable erudition (Booklist) to Castro's early life, showing Castro getting his toughness from a father who survived Spain's class system and colonial wars to become one of the most successful independent plantation owners in Cuba. We see a boy running around that plantation more comfortable playing with the children of his father's laborers than his own classmates at elite boarding schools in Santiago de Cuba and Havana. We discover a young man who writes flowery love letters from prison and contemplates the meaning of life, a gregarious soul attentive to the needs of strangers but often indifferent to the needs of his own family. These pages show a liberal democrat who admires FDR's New Deal policies and is skeptical of communism, but is also hostile to American imperialism. They show an audacious militant who stages a reckless attack on a military barracks but is canny about building an army of resisters. In short, Young Castro reveals a complex man.

The first American historian in a generation to gain access to the Castro archives in Havana, Jonathan Hansen was able to secure cooperation from Castro's family and closest confidants. He gained access to hundreds of never-before-seen letters and interviewed people he was the first to ask for their impressions of the man. The result is a nuanced and penetrating portrait of a man at once brilliant, arrogant, bold, vulnerable, and all too human: a man who, having grown up on an island that felt like a colonial cage, was compelled to lead his country to independence.
By:   Jonathan M. Hansen
Imprint:   SIMON451
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 213mm,  Width: 140mm,  Spine: 33mm
Weight:   424g
ISBN:   9781476732480
ISBN 10:   1476732485
Pages:   512
Publication Date:   05 August 2020
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Jonathan M. Hansen is a senior lecturer at Harvard University and the author of Guantanamo: An American History and The Lost Promise of Patriotism: Debating American Identity, 1890-1920. His writing has been published in The New York Times, Huffington Post, and The Guardian, among other places. His most recent book is Young Castro: The Making of a Revolutionary.

Reviews for Young Castro: The Making of a Revolutionary

Sure to become the standard on Castro's early life. * Publishers Weekly * An engaging, astute character study. A welcome addition to the literature of Castro and Cuba. * Kirkus Reviews * A nuanced portrait of a complex young man... Hansen fills out personal details and adds new layers of complexity to a life whose narrative has often been shaped and manipulated to serve the purposes of the Cuban Revolution. * ReVista, the Harvard Review of Latin America * A gripping and edifying narrative... Hansen brings imposing research and notable erudition to this account of Fidel Castro's early life. * Booklist *


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