Pearson, 2009 (third edition)
The story of Fidel Castro has few parallels in contemporary history. None of the outstanding Third World leaders of the twentieth-century played such a prominent and restless part on the international stage and none survived as head of state for as long. Over almost 50 years, he was one of the most controversial political figures in the world, and his legacy has yet to be fully evaluated. Some of his most cherished plans were realized and are a model for many Third World countries. Yet despite enormous sacrifices by Cubans, his grand vision remains unfulfilled and its continued pursuit is full of risks.
The fully revised third edition of this respected political biography provides the first full retrospect of Castro's remarkable career right up to his illness and withdrawal from power in February 2008, incorporating analysis of:
the renewed crackdown on dissidents in Cuba from the mid 1990s on
the major geopolitical reconfiguration of Latin America in the late 1990s, and the new Cuban-Venezuelan relationship under Hugo Chavez
the Helms Burton Act and the continuing US embargo
the Cuban economy in the first decade of the new millennium
It also revisits earlier events in Castro's career, for instance the various assassination plots against him, the Cuban missile crisis and the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in the light of documents released by Cuba and the US over the past decade and a half.
Sebastian Balfour is Emeritus Professor of Contemporary Spanish Studies at LSE.