Fidel: Castro's Political and Social Thought

Overview

The author of this book takes a highly original approach to understanding the past three decades of Cuban history—he offers an analysis and interpretation of the prolific writings and speeches of Fidel Castro and of numerous interviews with him. Through Castro’s own words, Sheldon Liss examines the evolution of the Cuban leader’s political and social ideas and evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of the Revolution.Liss first illuminates how intellectuals and political activists, such as Jos‚ Mart¡, Antonio ...

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Overview

The author of this book takes a highly original approach to understanding the past three decades of Cuban history—he offers an analysis and interpretation of the prolific writings and speeches of Fidel Castro and of numerous interviews with him. Through Castro’s own words, Sheldon Liss examines the evolution of the Cuban leader’s political and social ideas and evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of the Revolution.Liss first illuminates how intellectuals and political activists, such as Jos‚ Mart¡, Antonio Guiteras, and Ernesto "Che” Guevara, influenced Fidel’s ideological development. Next, he examines the Cuban and European origins of Castro’s political philosophy, probes his views on the deficiencies inherent in capitalism, and details why he established a vanguard Communist party. Throughout the book, Liss places Fidel’s ideas in international perspective, outlining, for example, his views of the Cuban-Soviet relationship, his reasoning behind Cuba’s support for revolutionary movements in the Third World, and his thoughts on the role of the United States in exacerbating social ills in Latin America. Finally, Liss investigates Castro’s controversial views on democracy, human rights, and freedom of artistic and intellectual expression. The book stands as a fine introduction to Cuba’s unique brand of Third World Marxism.

"Little more than a hagiography from a prominent scholar, written from a less-than-critical perspective. Book emphasizes Castro's 'political and social thoughts,' and author states that 'fundamentally, my worldview and Castro's coincide' (p. xii). Still, book is useful because it shows how Marxism, Castro's ambitions, and the international context shaped the Cuban Revolution. Good notes and bibliography included"--Handbook of Latin American Studies, v. 57.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Liss, who has authored many works on Latin America, including a prior study of Cuban thought, offers an insightful, important contribution to Latin American intellectual history with this examination of Fidel Castro's philosophy. Basing his book on extensive research of Castro's writings and speeches, Liss interprets and documents Castro's views on a range of controversial topics while placing them in a larger comparative, international context. He offers interpretations of such topics as the intellectual influences on Castro's Marxist formation, his vision of a Cuban state, his assessments of international relations, his analysis of culture and human rights, and his position on race, religion, and gender. Highly recommended for academic collections.-- Roderic A. Camp, Latin American Ctr., Tulane Univ., New Orleans, La.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813386782
  • Publisher: Westview Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/1994
  • Series: Latin American Perspectives Series , #13
  • Pages: 246
  • Product dimensions: 6.28 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.79 (d)

Meet the Author

Sheldon B. Liss is Distinguished Professor of Latin American History at the University of Akron, where he teaches Latin American history and politics.

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Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
1 The Revolutionary Leader 1
2 Preparing for Socialism 11
3 Precursors, Philosophy, and Ideology 29
4 Foundations of Cuba's Marxist State 47
5 International Concerns 75
6 The Americas 97
7 Democracy, Human Rights, and Freedom of Expression 129
8 Social Progress 149
9 Final Observations 173
Notes 185
Bibliography 223
About the Book and Author 237
Index 239
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