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Hot News for Cold Weather: A Fidel Castro Reading List

Fidel Castro died three weeks ago, and regardless of your opinion on this polarizing figure, it’s important to learn more about him. To that end, we at Consortium have compiled a list of readings on El Comandante to expose differing opinions on the Cold War leader. Take a gander and see what comes up:

Castro: A Graphic Novel, published soon after the Obama administration’s announcement to normalize relations with Cuba, Castro follows the revolutionary’s life through the perspective of a German journalist. Packed with vivid illustrations, the graphic novel does not present a skewed image of the divisive figure, but instead illuminates Castro’s varied personality traits. Taking the view that the leader was human, the reader sees all of it: the trade embargoes, the Bay of Pigs, and Castro’s interactions with everyday Cubans. Castro does not hide its namesake’s crackdowns, but instead showcases the leader’s faults and failings along with his successes. This graphic novel is a great place to start for the novice reader of Castro; what could be better than a biography with such beautiful illustrations?

Fidel Castro Reader is one of the first anthologies of Castro’s writings to be published in English since the Sixties. This reader is the perfect way to hear from El Comandante himself, giving the reader access to Fidel Castro’s speeches. It includes speeches from Fidel Castro, including his response to Che Guevara’s death, the 9/11 attacks, and the collapse of the Soviet Union. Even more, the Fidel Castro Reader comes with a timeline of the Cuban Revolution, a glossary, and many photos, grounding the text in the historical moment of Fidel Castro. No matter one’s opinion of the former leader, the Fidel Castro Reader provides the perfect opportunity for the reader to learn more about Castro’s own opinions, from the man himself. A new edition is incoming Spring 2017, so definitely check it out!

Psywar On Cuba: Declassified History of U.S. Anti-Castro Propaganda unveils newly declassified documents about the United States’ psychological warfare against Cuba throughout the Cold War. Perfect for the armchair historian or reader interested in propaganda, this book takes a different perspective than the previous two on Fidel Castro, expanding its scope to include the whole island-nation of Cuba. The C.I.A. and the U.S. Government collaborated on the decades-long campaign to discredit Fidel Castro, and Psywar on Cuba showcases their efforts to rumormonger. By compiling these documents into one volume, this book sheds new light on propaganda efforts by the United States and Fidel Castro himself.

Fidel & Religion details a conversation between Fidel Castro and Frei Betto about Marxism, liberation theology, and the possibilities of religion. Castro attended elite Catholic schools for much of his pre-university education; this book gives the reader a glimpse into the leader’s thoughts on religion and its connection to his own professed ideology. The 23 hour dialogue between Betto and Castro will hopefully give the reader a thought-provoking glimpse at Castro’s mind and thoughts on the possibilities of liberation theology. This book differs from the more general overview of Castro by giving insight to the more specific relationship between religion and politics.

De Fidel Castro A La Integración Latinoamericana is a Spanish-language book, third in a trilogy of books giving a history of Latin America. This last book provides a history of Latin America covering Fidel Castro’s ascent to power, claiming this moment as a turning point in Latin American history. Prieto further goes on to argue that Latin American unity became more and more an achievable concept throughout the Cold War. De Fidel Castro presents the geographic and political context of Fidel Castro’s rise in power, bequeathing to the reader a better and more general sense of Latin America at this time. This book helps anyone hoping to learn more about the former leader understand his role beyond the relationship between Cuba and the United States.

Executive Action: 634 Ways to Kill Fidel Castro, written by the former head of Cuba’s counterintelligence programs, presents quite the vivid view of the United States’ attempts to assassinate the Cuban leader. Providing over four decades of insight, Executive Action gives a more personal view into the United States’ actions against Cuba. The plans by the CIA to assassinate Castro oscillate between the comic and the dramatic, but never straying from their intent. Executive Action works perfectly as a thrilling look inside the CIA’s function during the Cold War, especially as the United States sought to undermine Cuba.

Latinoamericanismo Vs Imperialismo argues against what Fidel Castro considers neoliberalism and neocolonialism in Latin America. Published in the original Spanish, this book selects key speeches over four decades. Castro argues for a “second independence movement,” where Latin America should unite against a new imperialism threatening to overtake it. The original Spanish gives the reader full access to Castro’s thoughts and arguments, allowing the reader to formulate their own thoughts in response. Latinoamericanismo Vs. Imperialismo provides a fresh perspective in the U.S.-Cuba relations landscape, as Castro challenges preconceived notions of imperialism and Latin American unity.

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