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Posted December 10, 2012
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 14, 2007
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 22, 2006
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 8, 2005
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 authorâ¿¿s redundant pro-Cuba/anti-America rants (yawn). According to the authorâ¿¿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 â¿¿decidedâ¿ that they would be â¿¿herâ¿ top commanders in â¿¿herâ¿ 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 Partyâ¿¿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 Haneyâ¿¿s book, and this is THE key turning-point in Celiaâ¿¿s life). Since the Millos Ochoa landing and insurrection never materialized, Celia then joined Castroâ¿¿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, Castroâ¿¿s top leader in the urban underground. After Castroâ¿¿s landing, Celia was hand-picked by Pais to be a courier between Santiago de Cuba and Castroâ¿¿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 Tabioâ¿¿s Spanish-language â¿¿Celia: Ensayo para una Biografia.â¿ (Richard Haney spells Pedro Alvarez, â¿¿Pabloâ¿ Alavarez in his book. What a shame that Haney didnâ¿¿t even read the definitive bible on Celia before writing his book about her.)Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.