Che, Fidel, and the Improbable Revolution That Changed World History
Historian and travel writer Tony Perrottet chronicles the events of the Cuban Revolution and the figures at the center of the guerrilla uprising: Che Guevara, Fidel Castro, and the scrappy band of rebel men and women who followed them.
Most people are familiar with the general timeline of the Cuban Revolution of 1956-1958: It was led by two of the 20th century’s most iconic figures, Fidel Castro and Che Guevara; it successfully overthrew the island nation’s US-backed dictator; and it quickly went awry under Castro’s rule.
But less is commonly remembered about the amateur nature of the upstart movement, or the lives of its players. In this wildly entertaining and meticulously researched account, Tony Perrottet unravels the human drama behind history’s most improbable revolution: a scruffy handful of self-taught revolutionaries—many of them kids just out of college, literature majors, art students and young lawyers, and including a number of women—defeated 40,000 professional soldiers to overthrow the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista. Cuba Libre’s deep dive into the revolution reveals fascinating details: How did Fidel’s highly organized lover Celia Sánchez whip the male guerrillas into shape? Who were the two dozen American volunteers who joined the Cuban rebels? How do you make lethal land mines from condensed milk cans—or, for that matter, cook chorizo à la guerrilla (sausage guerrilla-style)?
Cuba Libre is an entertaining look back at a liberation movement that captured the imagination of the world with its spectacular drama, foolhardy bravery, tragedy, and, sometimes, high comedy—and that set the stage for a buildup of Cold War tension that became a pivotal moment in history.