Printed at: 28/08/2014  –  02:01:14

Fidel Castro: A Biography

By: Volker Skierka

First Edition
Publication Dates ROW:
Publication Dates US:
Publication Dates Aus & NZ:
Feb 2004

237 x 160 mm
9.30 x 6.30 in
488 pages

* Exam copies only available to lecturers for whom the book may be suitable as a course text.
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"A comprehensive and highly readable biography written in a remarkably even-handed tone."
The Guardian

"Volker Skierka has written the book that those wanting to understand the present-day politics of Cuba and its ruler have been awaiting for a long time. He has done so with a freshness, simplicity and elegance that makes it a pleasure to read ... accessible and fascinating to the casual reader and the specialist alike."
BBC History Magazine

"An exceptional, evenhanded portrait of an undeniably strong leader's strengths and weaknesses."
Midwest Book Review

"A fascinatingly good read and a treasure trove of information."
Morning Star

"Volker Skierka's study of Castro stands out for its admirable clarity and accessibility. Synthesizing a wealth of literature, and casting a cool eye on the official pieties of both Havana and Washington, Skierka has drawn a critical but far from unsympathetic portrait of this extraordinary figure of the Cold War world whose personal tenacity ensured that Cuban Communism survived with him into the new millennium."
James Dunkerley, Queen Mary University

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Table of Contents

List of plates.

A Note of Thanks.


Preface to the English Edition.

1. The Heroic Myth.

2. The Young Fidel.

Among Jesuits.

Among gangsters.

3. The Young Revolutionary.

Storm and stress: Moncada.

“Che”, the Argentinean.

Stormy crossing on the Granma.

A guerillero in the Sierra Maestra.

321 against 10,000.

4. The Young Victor.

Communists and “barbudos”.

1,500 revolutionary laws.

5. Old Enemies, New Friends.

The great powers at the gates.

The CIA, the Mafia and the Bay of Pigs.


“Mongoose” and “Anadyr”.

Thirteen days on the brink of a third world war.

Three gamblers.

6. The Long March with Che.

Moscow, Beijing, and Havana.

The new man.

The demise of Che.

7. Bad Times, Good Times.

War and peace with Moscow.

Ten million tons.

Into the Third World.

The revolution devours its children.

8. Alone Against All.

Exodus to Florida.

Rectificacion and perestroika.

The Soviet imperium collapses.

The brother’s power.

War economy in peacetime.

9. The Eternal Revolutionary.

Class Struggle on a dollar basis.

Cuba and the global policeman.

Castro, God and the Pope.

Freedom or “socialismo tropical”.

10. Don Quixote and History.




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Author Information

Volker Skierka is a journalist and author based in Germany.

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