Celia Sanchez - The Legend of Cuba's Revolutionary Heart [NOOK Book]

Overview

Fidel Castro was powerless, in prison, when the Cuban Revolution was launched - by a tiny woman named Celia Sánchez. A fearless and brilliant organizer and recruiter, she created, nurtured, and led the insurgency that ousted the U.S.-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista, the Mafia, the Communist Party of Cuba, and the U.S. capitalists from Cuba in 1959. Castro's first two thrusts against Batista were dismal failures - the attack on the powerful Moncada Army Barracks on July 26, 1953, when everyone in his terribly ...
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Celia Sanchez - The Legend of Cuba's Revolutionary Heart

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Overview

Fidel Castro was powerless, in prison, when the Cuban Revolution was launched - by a tiny woman named Celia Sánchez. A fearless and brilliant organizer and recruiter, she created, nurtured, and led the insurgency that ousted the U.S.-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista, the Mafia, the Communist Party of Cuba, and the U.S. capitalists from Cuba in 1959. Castro's first two thrusts against Batista were dismal failures - the attack on the powerful Moncada Army Barracks on July 26, 1953, when everyone in his terribly outmanned and outgunned little force was either killed or captured and imprisoned; and, after two years of imprisonment, his return from Mexico on a leaky yacht in December of 1956, when 70 of his 81 rebels were quickly ambushed and killed by a Batista army as they scrambled ashore at Playa Colorado. The twelve survivors - including the Castro brothers Fidel and Raúl, Che Guevara, Camilo Cienfuegos, and Juan Almeida - were saved by and joined up with Celia's already viable guerrilla movement in the foothills of the Sierra Maestra Mountains of eastern Cuba. Only then did they begin to make a dent in the supposedly impregnable Batista arsenal. From their first meeting in the Sierras till victory was theirs in the first week of January, 1959, Castro never forgot whose revolution it was - Celia's. And from January of 1959 till she died of cancer in January of 1980, he never forgot whose Cuba it was - Celia's. And it still is, as Castro has ruled the beleaguered island even since 1980 only in the manner he perceives Celia would want him to rule it. Rich Haney has studied the Cuban Revolution for over twenty years, particularly how it relates to America. This all-consuming interest inCuba began innocently enough. Throughout the 1970s, he was Sports Anchor/Director of WTVR-TV, the CBS affiliate in Richmond, Virginia. After airing an interview with the Brown Bomber, Joe Louis, he received a telephone call from an elderly black woman named Nora Peters. As a retired free-lance journalist, she knew Joe and he fondly remembered her. Over the next twelve years, until she died at the age of 82, Haney and Peters established a warm friendship. Ms. Peters first met Celia Sánchez in 1953 in Batista's Cuba. The letters Ms. Peters received from Celia between 1959 and 1979 describe Celia's life during and after the overthrow of the U.S.-backed Batista regime, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the continuing harassment from Florida-based Cuban émigré groups. Haney writes from the basis of this remarkable collection of letters, plus personal correspondence with Cuban journalist Marta Rojas and information gathered from Cuban archives and museums and the US National Archives. He went to Cuba in March 2004, on a legal license from the U.S. Treasury, to attempt to confirm the mystical hold Celia exercises over Fidel Castro to this day. That confirmation was realized. Celia Sánchez was and is the heart and soul of the Cuban Revolution, and it will be her Cuba as long as Fidel Castro is in place. Castro turned 79 on August 13, 2005, in his 46th year as Cuba's leader. The transition to post-Castro Cuba looms vividly on the horizon, whether it comes as a result of natural causes or with an "assist" by the Batistiano-influenced U.S. government. This highly personal account gives insights into the U.S.-Cuban relationship and the motivations of Cuba's leaders at a historical juncture. Rich Haney has also authored Sacajawea: Her True Story, and a Civil War novel, Chattahoochee.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780875863979
  • Publisher: Algora Publishing
  • Publication date: 12/28/2005
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 907,998
  • File size: 553 KB

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 10, 2012

    The one-star rating of this Celia Sanchez bio is obviously from

    The one-star rating of this Celia Sanchez bio is obviously from a self-serving anti-Celia, anti-Cuba, anti-revolution or anti-Castro zealot. Mr. Haney has studied Celia Sanchez  on a day-and-night basis since the 1980s when he first became fascinated with her significance and uniqueness. The reviewer pretends to know more about her but it is doubtful he would like to compete against someone who has, for example, met and discussed Celia Sanchez in Cuba with seven of her intimate associates and two of her close family members. It seems, as with this one-star reviewer, there are self-anointed and self-serving "experts" on almost any subject. Instead of freely polluting the air, they should be challenged, I think. Celia Sanchez does not deserve to be judged by such characters. 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2007

    A reviewer

    Books do not normally make me cry, but many times while reading this biography of Celia Sanchez I had to pause and wait for my tears to dry before continuing. I have been captivated by Celia Sanchez for more than a decade and have long wanted to see her properly remembered. In Cuba of course she is. It is not just Cuba, though it's the whole world which needs the inspiration and model her life provides. Thus the importance of Mr. Haney's book. I wrote the book 'Cycling Cuba' that was published by Lonely Planet in 2002. During that and other visits around the island, Celia laid claim to my imagination. I have had endless conversations with ordinary Cubans, trying to learn more about Celia from them. If there is a place on the island where 'la flor mas autoctona de la Revolucion' ''the most beautiful flower of the Revolution'' was not personally known, I have yet to find it. However, the overwhelming majority of those who said they knew Celia turned out to be people for whom she had done some life-changing 'or life-saving' favour. They spoke of her as a saint because that was what she'd been to them. I wanted to know her deeper than that, but eventually concluded that, having come twenty years too late, I would never 'know' Celia Sanchez except as she exists in the memory of her people. I have contacted Mr. Haney via his publisher, Algora of NYC, to thank him for what he has done for me, for Cuba, for Americans, and for the world, by remembering Celia to us all.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2006

    Important biography

    I believe to not know Celia Sanchez is to not know the historical meaning of the Cuban Revolution or present day Cuba. Mr. Haney's insightful portrait, including his 2004 trip to Cuba to confirm the vast significance of Celia Sanchez to both the revolution and to modern Cuba, is truly astounding and amply documented. Yes, I now agree with Mr. Haney and with Mr. Castro that the Cuban Revolution was Celia's revolution and that today's Cuba is Celia's Cuba. Mr. Haney maintains that Celia is the greatest female revolutionary of all time. I agree with that too.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2005

    Very poorly researched book...

    This is a truly weak book about a truly remarkable woman. What the author has tried to do is to cram the entire Cuban history into 185 pages. Very little of the book is even about Celia Sanchez, and what little there is about her is poorly researched and hastily written. About half the book is the author⿿s redundant pro-Cuba/anti-America rants (yawn). According to the author⿿s bio, he has been studying the Cuban revolution for 20 years. If this is true, it is unforgivable that the book is studded with so many factual errors, way, way, way too many to list here. Most of the quotations attributed to Celia Sanchez throughout the book are invented by the author, and the publisher should demand to see his notes. The thesis of the book is that Celia Sanchez, not Castro, started the Cuban revolutionary war, and then, incidentally, Fidel and Che Guevara drifted in on the Granma yacht. At that point, Celia ⿿decided⿝ that they would be ⿿her⿝ top commanders in ⿿her⿝ war. This is not only false, but absolutely absurd. According to this book, Celia Sanchez had a small guerrilla army of 212 troops, most of them Rambo-like teenage girls, who went out and sacked military garrisons, derailed trains, and led battle after heroic battle in 1954 and 1955 when Castro was stuck in the Isle of Pines prison, and without his authorization. This is absolutely false. At that time (and this is documented fact), Celia was a budding, passionate underling in the splintered Ortodoxo Party⿿s militant underground, and was involved in networking with peasants and making maps of her area of operations, rural Pilon, for an insurrection to be led by a certain General Millos Ochoa, an exiled military officer. (There is not one mention of Ochoa in Haney⿿s book, and this is THE key turning-point in Celia⿿s life). Since the Millos Ochoa landing and insurrection never materialized, Celia then joined Castro⿿s M-26 movement in July 1955, just after he was freed from prison. From then on, Celia took her orders directly from Frank Pais, Castro⿿s top leader in the urban underground. After Castro⿿s landing, Celia was hand-picked by Pais to be a courier between Santiago de Cuba and Castro⿿s encampment in the Sierra Maestra. For those hoping to learn about Celia Sanchez, the best book is by the authority on Celia Sanchez, Cuban historian Pedro Alvarez Tabio⿿s Spanish-language ⿿Celia: Ensayo para una Biografia.⿝ (Richard Haney spells Pedro Alvarez, ⿿Pablo⿝ Alavarez in his book. What a shame that Haney didn⿿t even read the definitive bible on Celia before writing his book about her.)

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