The Seven Best Books About Fidel Castro

{Updated: Dec. 13-2016}
Note: This biography of Fidel Castro was written by Jules Dubois and published in Mexico City by Grijalbo Publishing in 1959, shortly after the Cuban Revolution had overthrown the Batista dictatorship. It included feisty but flighty comments and predictions by Fidel during that heady period. Notice that he signed the book beneath a very coy sentence that translates to: "I think this revolution will last a long time."
Note: T. J. English wrote "Havana Nocturne: How the Mob Owned Cuba and Then Lost It to the Revolution" as a novel but it is meticulously researched and, far more than most "non-fiction" books about Cuba, it captures the leading role the American Mafia played in the brutal fleecing of the island by the U. S. - backed Batista dictatorship, creating the Fidel Castro-led Cuban Revolution that so remarkably did something about it. Also, unlike many other authors, T. J. English understands and is brave enough to acknowledge that the ousted Batistiano/Mafioso regime in Cuba quickly, and it seems permanently, reconstituted itself on U. S. soil. T. J. English understands that the Batista regime fled Havana, landed in Miami, and then advanced all the way to Washington, riding the coattails of the self-serving Bush dynasty.
         T. J. English {above} -- is a 55-year-old Irish-American author and journalist famed primarily for his non-fiction books about organized crime in America, a plague otherwise known as the Mafia or the Mob. It is very clear in his "Havana Nocturne" classic that he profoundly dislikes Fidel Castro, which is his prerogative, of course. But he also indicates that he, even more, dislikes "Batista," "U. S. businessmen," and "CIA boobs" whom he very correctly blames for creating the legend the world knows as "Fidel Castro." So, T. J. English in "Havana Nocturne" tells you all about how: "Meyer Lansky and his Mafia minions created a paradise in Cuba and then watched el bardudo -- the bearded one -- trample over it."
          "FIDEL CASTRO: My Life" rounds out the Top Seven in the pantheon of the best books about Fidel Castro. Based word-for-word on audio recordings conducted by Ignacio Ramonet and published in 2009, Fidel in his own words describes the life and times of...Fidel Castro. He is unapologetic and candid, and less biased than most of the billions of words that have been written about him. Yes, it is a one-sided version of a two-sided Fidel but its truthfulness can easily be substantiated or debunked. And his words are indeed historic and they reflect the nature of a man who has never been afraid to fight for what he believes in or to speak the truth as he both sees it and has lived it. Thus, it is a very important book.
Now a brief review of the Top 7: 
Ann Louise Bardach is the author of the two best books {see top) about Fidel Castro.
       Ann Louise Bardach's interviews with Fidel Castro, Luis Posada Carriles, Orlando Bosch, etc., illuminate the multi-dimensional Fidel Castro better than all other sources. She captured the essence of Fidel Castro and pinpointed the enemies that created and sustained him. Anyone who is unfamiliar with Bardach's books, essays, and speeches related to the Fidel Castro-Cuba-U. S. triangle does not know Fidel Castro nor do they understand the U.S.-Cuba phenomenon. To not know Bardach is to not know Cuba.
       Julia Sweig's "CUBA: What Everyone Needs to Know" is the third most important book about Fidel Castro, especially the recently published second edition. Sweig comprehends nuances of Fidel Castro's life relating to how the legendary rebel has so massively impacted the United States, the world's all-time richest and strongest nation. For example, the Castro-led overthrow of the U.S.-backed Batista-Mafia regime in January of 1959 was not only an event that shocked the world but, more significantly, it resulted in the ousted dictatorship reconstituting itself on U. S. soil -- namely nearby Miami. While it is certainly politically incorrect to admit it, the U. S. now essentially consists of three powerful, autonomous governments -- the U. S., Israel, and Cuba. Sweig -- in "What Everyone Needs to Know" -- explains how that evolved. It revolves around the Bush dynasty -- starting with George H. W. Bush's CIA directorship, Vice Presidency, and Presidency -- that anointed Jorge Mas Canosa as the head of the Cuban-government-in-exile. And then, as Sweig explains, Bush operatives suggested that Canosa copy AIPAC -- the unchallenged "American Israel Public Affairs Committee" -- and form a similar government within the bowels of the U. S. government. Canosa did that with his Bush-anointed creation of the "Cuban American National Foundation" -- CANF. Thus, there is essentially a three-headed government in Washington, D. C.
These topics and pages in Sweig's book confirm that fact:
"Jorge Mas Canosa" -----------------------------Page 100
"Cuban American National Foundation"----Page 101
Radio Marti" ---------------------------------------Page 102
"Cubana Flight 455" --------------------Pages 60 and 84
"Robert Torricelli" --------------------------Pages 162-164
"Helms-Burton" ----------------------------Pages 171-174
"Cuban Adjustment Act" -------------Pages 89 and 167
"Cuban Democracy Act" -----------------Pages 162-165
"Brothers to Rescue Shootdown" -------------Page 169
       George Anne Geyer's "Guerrilla Prince: The Untold Story of Fidel Castro" still rates as one the Top Four books about Fidel Castro. Like Bardach and Sweig, Ms. Geyer is clearly not a fan of Fidel Castro but, also like Bardach and Sweig, she is fair to him and to history with her diligent research and unbiased observations. For example, Ms. Geyer clearly explains that Celia Sanchez "over-ruled" Fidel whenever and wherever she chose to do so. Most authors and journalists do not have either the wisdom or the courage to make such points regarding an individual and/or an event such as the controversial Fidel Castro. 
Fidel Castro is very important because he says more about the United States than about Cuba.
If you read and study these 7 books, you'll know Fidel Castro. 
If you don't, you won't!
And, indeed, it's time you got to know the man because...
...since his death at age 90 on Nov. 25-2016, his legacy watch began ticking!
So his legacy is still young.
With a wink, Fidel reportedly told this fawning fan, "If you liked my life, you'll love my legacy!"
In other words......
...the final chapters in the Fidel saga and his ongoing Revolution have yet to be written!
       I'll stick by my selections of the Seven Best Books About Fidel Castro for the reasons stated earlier. Other excellent books about Fidel included: "Fidel Castro" by Robert E. Quick; "Fidel: A Critical Portrait" by Tad Szulc; "Havana Before Castro: When Cuba Was A Tropical Playground" by Peter Moruzzi. Those three are excellent portraits of Fidel Castro and how his rebellious life evolved, but didn't make my Top Seven because I stressed the tomes that emphasized his and Cuba's relationship with the United States. I believe that Fidel Castro and his Cuban Revolution say more about the United States, the world superpower, than they say about Cuba, the Caribbean island.
Aug. 13, 1926 -- Nov. 25, 2016


Cubans Dominating Major League Baseball!!

A Riveting Microcosm of Cuba-U.S. Relations
{Updated: Tuesday, August 27th, 2013}
        This past Sunday -- August 25th, 2013 -- the New York Times used the above photo of Cuban outfielder Alfredo Despaigne to illustrate a long article, written by Ben Strauss, entitled: "Stream of Talent Continues to Flow From Cuba." Strauss pointed out that Despaigne is playing professionally in Mexico with Cuba's permission as the island reacts to the flood of other players being siphoned off by U. S. Major League teams. Despaigne played 33 games for Piratas de Campeche in Mexico and hit .338 with 8 homers. He kept 80% of his salary with the remaining 20% going to Cuba's National Institute of Sport. 
The arrangement with Despaigne reflects the resilience that keeps Cuba from being devoured.
But America's devouring the island's wealth of baseball talent is particularly nettlesome.
Cuba is peeved that Cuban-exile extremists are now facilitating baseball defections.
      According to Cesar Lopez's informative www.cubanball.com, as of today there are 136 Cubans playing professional baseball in the United States with 34 in the Major Leagues, many of them multi-millionaire superstars. And recently elements have conspired to create The Perfect Storm that has opened the baseball spigots from Cuba wider than ever before. The unfathomable convergence includes:
1: Cuba now very freely issuing exit visas on the island, even for dissidents to leave and return.
2: Television revenue providing billions of dollars for 30 Major League teams to purchase players.
3: A cottage industry of money-makers attaching themselves to the gigantic financial windfalls.
4: Revengeful Cuban exiles believing baseball defections are another way to hurt Castro's Cuba.
5: Cuba realizing that multi-millionaire baseball players will aid family members on the island.
6: Cuba per capita unprecedentedly producing more baseball talent than any place on the planet.
Now let's view how the Cuba-to-U.S. baseball spigot evolved into a perfect storm scenario:
       Yasiel Puig has emerged as the most sensational Major League baseball player in 2013. The Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder is only 22-year-old; he was born on December 7, 1990 in Cienfuegos, Cuba, and he is a prime example of the young Cuban superstars who are now dominating Major League baseball. The Dodgers signed the 21-year-old Puig for $42 million last season. At age 22, Puig is already far superior to many Major League players earning upwards of $20 million a year, so his future earnings are stratospheric!
         The awesomely rich Dodgers were in last place and trailed the Arizona Diamondbacks by 10 games in the NL West when Puig was called up on June 3rd. Since then, the Dodgers have been the best team in the Major Leagues and are now running away with the NL West divisional title, largely thanks to Yasiel Puig!
         The Miami Marlins Jose Fernandez is the most sensational young pitcher in Major League baseball. Born on July 31, 1992 in Santa Clara, Cuba, Fernandez was siphoned off the island to Miami at age 14. 
This week when the Dodgers played the Marlins in Miami, Puig and Fernandez met face-to-face.
The sensational Fernandez beat Puig and the Dodgers; the next night Puig's 2-run homer beat Miami.
       Yasiel Puig also made news this week when he said, if afforded the opportunity, he would play for his native Cuba in international competitions. Of course, the hostile Cuban exile-controlled American Cuban policy would not allow that and Puig, in line to make hundreds of millions of American dollars, would not jeopardize his future contracts. Cuba once totally dominated international competition, but no more.
       Adeiny Hechavarria is Jose Fernandez's teammate as the young shortstop for the Miami Marlins. Adeiny is 24-years-old; he was born April 15, 1989 in Santiago de Cuba. The re-building Marlins play their home games in their new stadium in Miami's Little Havana district. Now that the floodgates have been opened to baseball-rich Cuba, look for the Marlins to add as many Cubans as possible. However, they will have to join the frenzied, effervescent bidding that also involves the other 29 Major League teams.
Jose Iglesias was born January 5, 1990 in Havana; he's already the star shortstop for the Detroit Tigers.
This is Jose Iglesias and teammate Austin Jackson celebrating a win over the Chicago White Sox.
The star shortstop and best player for the Chicago White Sox is Cuban Alexei Ramirez.
Alexei Ramirez {above} was born on September 22, 1981 in Pinar del Rio, Cuba.
A few years ago Yoenis Cespedes {abovewas a great young hitter for the Cuban National Team.
Yoenis Cespedes was born October 18, 1985 in Campechuela, Granma Province, Cuba.
Now Yoenis Cespedes is a great young hitter for the Oakland Athletics.
Last month Cepedes won the Home Run Derby at the All-Star Game.
Cepedes {left} and Puig {right} can now exchange views on what it's like being new multi-millionaires!
        The Cincinnati Reds made Aroldis Chapman a  young multi-millionaire. He was born on February 28th, 1988 in Holguin Province, Cuba, and began pitching for the Holguin Sabuesos in 2006. He pitched for the Cuban National Team in the 2007 Pan American Games and in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. Cincinnati on Jan. 10-2010 guaranteed him $30.25 million as a prelude to the much bigger contracts that will follow. 
Aroldis Chapman got his 33rd "save" for the Reds this week.
He is the only pitcher ever to throw fastballs consistently at around 105 miles-an-hour. 
And now that the Cuban pipeline is wide open, the beat goes on!
       Cuban right-hander Vladimir Garcia {abovehas defected and several Major League teams are begging him to let them make him 50-million-dollars richer. Potential alone creates instant millionaires in baseball.
This big first baseman, Jose Abreu, has defected and soon he might have $100 million in his bank account.
       That's Jose Abreu sliding into second baseball for Cuba against Japan in recent international competition. Many scouts believe Abreu is a better hitter than either Yoenis Cespedes or Yasiel Puig, both of whom have quickly become Major League superstars. Abreu's statistics in Cuban baseball far exceed comparable numbers put up by Cespedes or Puig. In Cuba the baseball fans lovingly call Abreu "Pito." 
       This is Jose Abreu at age 24 in 2011 sliding into second base for the Cienfuegos Elephants in Cuba. That year in just 82 games he hit .453 with 33 homers -- statistics never approached by Puig, Cespedes or any other Cuban player. Now that he has defected and the spigot is truly open in an era when Major League Baseball is awash with billion-dollar television contracts, Jose Abreu is about to cash in big time!
       Havana-born Ileana Ros-Lehtinen has been entrenched in the U. S. Congress from Miami since 1989. She is viscerally anti-Castro and is a key component of the rich and powerful band of Cuban exiles that many feel self-servingly dictates America's Cuban policy. Last month when a Cuban national team was playing a U. S. college-level squad in a five-game tournament, Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen was the very first to announce that a Cuban pitcher from Santa Clara had defected. She broke the news with this Tweet: "2day pitcher Misael Siver defected hours after arriving in U.S. Welcome 2 freedom." While money is the primary lure for Cuban baseball stars to defect to the United States, there are other factors on this side of the Florida Straits too -- such as revenge by anti-Castro zealots who believe such defections hurt Fidel and thus greasing the skids colors the equation. But a lot of the baseball money ends up in Cuba.
For example....
       Luis Tiant made big money during his 19-year Major League career. Luis never forgot that he was born on Nov. 23-1940 in Marianao, Cuba. During and after his playing days, he sent a lot of money to Cuba.
Luis Tiant was a great pitcher for the Cleveland Indians; he was 21-and-9 for the Indians in 1968.
      And Luis Tiant is in the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame. From 1973 through 1976 he won 20, 22, 18, and 21 games during a four-year span for Boston where he is still considered an all-time baseball superstar.
Recently, for the first time in 46 years, Luis Tiant smoked a cigar on Cuba soil {above}!
This time Luis Tiant {abovepersonally delivered roles of dollar bills to Cuban relatives and friends. 
       Antonio Castro, the son of Fidel Castro, is a huge baseball fan. A well-respected doctor on the island, he is also the team doctor for Cuban national teams, as television viewers remember from seeing him during the Olympic and World Baseball Classic competitions. Tony says, "It is bittersweet for me when players like Pito {Jose Abreu} leave the island. And I shed tears with other fans when we learn they have left. But at the same time, we are proud and happy for them as they chase their dreams in the United States. God bless baseball and the United States for giving them such opportunities that we in Cuba cannot give them."
      Tony Castro, on the left above in his capacity as a team doctor in Cuba, is one of baseball's most respected ambassadors. He is Vice President of the World Baseball Federation and is leading the fight to restore baseball to the Olympics. When the Oakland A's played in Toronto against the Blue Jays recently, the Toronto Star reported on the very amiable meeting Tony had with the A's top star, Yoenis Cespedes.
     Fidel Castro turned 87-years-old this month and, like his son Tony, he remains a fervent baseball fan. In the 1940s -- after being named Cuba's Athlete of the Year for his prowess in baseball, track, and basketball -- Fidel was offered try-outs as a right-handed pitcher by both the Philadelphia Athletics and Washington Senators of the American League. He considered the offers and also contemplated Law School at either Georgetown or Colombia University...before he entered Law School at the University of Havana where he got his degree but also acquired a hatred for U. S. - backed dictator Fulgencio Batista. The rest, of course, is history. Fidel, by the way, believes that the best baseball player in Cuban history was a third baseman named Omar Linares, who was afforded many opportunities to defect but chose never to do so although he played parts of three seasons in Japan. Fidel was once obsessed with the career of Camilo Pascual.
     Fidel Castro's favorite Cuban Major League baseball player was Camilo Pascual, a right-handed pitcher like Fidel. Fidel believed he had talent comparable to Camilo and thus closely monitored Camilo's success in the U. S. to gauge what might have been his success had he not spurned a $3,000 signing bonus from the Washington Senators. Instead Fidel finished Law School in Havana and then began his campaign to overthrow the Batista dictatorship. Camilo Pascual was born on January 20, 1934 in Havana. At age 18 he accepted an offer from the Senators and became a Major Leaguer in 1954 at age 20. Camilo spent 18 superb years in the Majors, finishing up with the Cleveland Indians in 1971, and was an All-Star 7 times. 
        In 1961 the Washington Senators franchise moved to Minnesota and became the Minnesota Twins. In 1961 and 1962 Camilo was the best pitcher in the American League. He was 20-and-11 in 1961 and 21-9 in 1962 with the Twins. Throughout the 1960s most Major Leaguers agreed that Camilo had the best curve ball in baseball. As the barometer by which Fidel Castro measured his ability as a pitcher, Camilo Pascual was so good that, according to their good friend Juan Almeida, once in the early 1960s Celia Sanchez was so miffed at Fidel's obsession with Camilo's baseball career that she teased him with this comment: "Sometimes I wish you were really over there pitching alongside your Camilo Pascual! I think you do too." 
       Brayan Pena, the veteran catcher {he was born January 7, 1982 in Havana} for the AL West-leading Detroit Tigers, agrees with Fidel Castro about who was the all-time best Cuban baseball player -- Omar Linares! And Pena has seen or played with or against all of the current Cuban superstars in the Major Leagues. In a recent article in the Detroit News, Pena said, "Omar was like the Miguel Cabrera of our time." {Miguel Cabrera is the current Detroit 3rd baseman and reigning Triple Crown champion -- batting average, homers, and runs-batted-in} Pena added, "Omar was my idol, the idol for all of us. Everybody in Cuba was amazed by the way he handled himself on and off the field. He played at a level known only to himself."
       To this day Cubans on the island call Omar Linares {above"El Nino," The Kid. He was born on Oct. 23-1967 in Pinar del Rio Province. By age 14 he was starring in Cuba's strongest league. For twenty years, as a star third baseman, he was the best player Fidel Castro, Bryan Pena, and other Cubans ever saw.
Omar Linares at age 14 on his way to becoming a baseball legend in Cuba.
The 15-year-old Omar Linares with his father Fidel Linares admiring a baseball trophy.
Omar Linares was a brilliant base-runner with "perfect baseball instincts" according to Pena.
Omar Linares preparing to bat for his Pinar del Rio team.
Omar Linares in his final at bat for the Cuban National Team in the World Baseball Classic.
He never played in the U. S. Major Leagues but he is still considered Cuba's best all-time player.
And by the way............
        Sarah Rainsford {above} is your best bet if you seek insightful, unbiased news from Cuba. Her report for England's BBC this week, for example, revealed the magical hold baseball has on the island. She also deftly encapsulated how Cubans are reacting to losing one superstar baseball player after another to lucrative U. S. contracts. No other journalist is close to Sarah Rainsford when it comes to capturing the moods and feelings of Cubans on the island. Politically correct, biased or intimidated U. S. journalists regularly paint distorted portraits of an island that, both positively and negatively, impacts American values daily. Thus, when you do Google searches you should dial up "BBC" and then "Sarah Rainsford."
        Sarah Rainsford's BBC report on Cuban baseball this week included this photo/video image of awestruck Cuban boys dreaming of being future multi-millionaire baseball players in the United States. 
And it seems those dreams are realistic!


cubaninsider: "The Country That Raped Me" (A True Story)

cubaninsider: "The Country That Raped Me" (A True Story) : Note : This particular essay on  Ana Margarita Martinez  was first ...