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Spectacle of the Rats and Owls

Malcolm Deas, 2 June 1988

Against All Hope 
by Armando Valladares, translated by Andrew Harley.
Hamish Hamilton, 381 pp., £12.95, July 1986, 0 241 11806 9
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by Peter Bourne.
Macmillan, 332 pp., £14.95, April 1987, 0 333 44593 7
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Fidel: A Critical Portrait 
by Tad Szulc.
Hutchinson, 585 pp., £14.95, June 1987, 0 09 172602 6
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Castro and the Cuban Labour Movement: Statecraft and Society in a Revolutionary Period (1959-1961) 
by Efren Cordova.
University Press of America, 354 pp., £24.65, April 1988, 0 8191 5952 2
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Fidel and Religion: Castro talks on revolution and religion with Frei Betto 
translated by the Cuban Centre for Translation.
Simon and Schuster, 314 pp., £14.95, September 1987, 9780671641146
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... not appear to be true. Valladares has quite enough to indict him for without that charge. Both Tad Szulc and Peter Bourne seem to have approached the test of writing about Castro with initial enthusiasm, and in both cases the enthusiasm seems to have flagged. Both books dwell disproportionately on Castro’s life up to his taking of power, and have ...

A Bone in the Throat

Piero Gleijeses: Castro, 19 August 2004

The Real Fidel Castro 
by Leycester Coltman.
Yale, 335 pp., £25, October 2003, 0 300 10188 0
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... pretending to know more than one does is a widely shared flaw among Castro biographers. Only one, Tad Szulc, has resisted this temptation, and Fidel, published in 1986, remains the best life. Coltman’s book is useful, however: it takes the story almost to the present day, and his subtle knowledge of Cuba – three years is longer than any other Castro ...

Defeated Armies

Scott Sherman: Castro in the New York Times, 5 July 2007

The Man Who Invented Fidel: Castro, Cuba, and Herbert L. Matthews of the ‘New York Times’ 
by Anthony DePalma.
PublicAffairs, 308 pp., £15.99, September 2006, 1 58648 332 3
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... the tragic dimensions of his career. Obviously, Matthews wanted the Cuban Revolution to flourish. Tad Szulc, who replaced him on the Times Cuba beat, believed that ‘in Fidel Castro and his Movement he sensed a vindication of the Spanish tragedy.’ But it seems to me that Matthews’s worst troubles were not chiefly the result of his politics or his ...

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