One Day in December: Celia Sanchez and the Cuban Revolution

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Overview

Celia Sánchez is the missing actor of the Cuban Revolution. Although not as well known in the English-speaking world as Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, Sánchez played a pivotal role in launching the revolution and administering the revolutionary state. She joined the clandestine 26th of July Movement and went on to choose the landing site of the Granma and fight with the rebels in the Sierra Maestra. She collected the documents that would form the official archives of the revolution, and, after its victory, ...
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One Day in December: Celia Sanchez and the Cuban Revolution

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Overview

Celia Sánchez is the missing actor of the Cuban Revolution. Although not as well known in the English-speaking world as Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, Sánchez played a pivotal role in launching the revolution and administering the revolutionary state. She joined the clandestine 26th of July Movement and went on to choose the landing site of the Granma and fight with the rebels in the Sierra Maestra. She collected the documents that would form the official archives of the revolution, and, after its victory, launched numerous projects that enriched the lives of many Cubans, from parks to literacy programs to helping develop the Cohiba cigar brand. All the while, she maintained a close relationship with Fidel Castro that lasted until her death in 1980.

The product of ten years of original research, this biography draws on interviews with Sánchez’s friends, family, and comrades in the rebel army, along with countless letters and documents. Biographer Nancy Stout was initially barred from the official archives, but, in a remarkable twist, was granted access by Fidel Castro himself, impressed as he was with Stout’s project and aware that Sánchez deserved a worthy biography. This is the extraordinary story of an extraordinary woman who exemplified the very best values of the Cuban Revolution: selfless dedication to the people, courage in the face of grave danger, and the desire to transform society.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“In this riveting and eloquent portrait, Celia Sánchez finally emerges as a major star in Cuba’s revolutionary drama: a political animal, a management consultant, a historian, and of course, a confidante to Fidel Castro. . . her legacy, especially for women and girls’ education and health, and as the chief archivist of the insurgency, comes alive in Stout’s exhaustively researched biography.”-Julia Sweig, Nelson and David Rockefeller Senior Fellow and Director, Latin America Studies and Global Brazil Initiative, Council on Foreign Relations,

“Engrossing, endearing, and eloquent, this sympathetic and superbly crafted portrait of the ‘True Flower of the Revolution’ unfolds in magnificent detail. . . so intimate is Stout’s well-informed tour de force that the description of Sánchez’s death brings the reader to tears, inspired by a deep sense of love and loss.”-Christopher P. Baker, author, Mi Moto Fidel: Motorcycling Through Castro’s Cuba,

“I love this book. . . an insightful, mature, and sometimes droll exploration of a profoundly liberated, adventuresome and driven personality. I love the life of Celia Sánchez, a life that was singular, sui generis, and true to its time of revolution and change in Cuban society.”-Alice Walker, author, The Color Purple; winner, Pulitzer Prize,

“This excellent book tells us about Celia Sánchez, an early leader of the Cuban Revolution and a fascinating character. . . as Stout movingly describes her, Celia was totally devoted to Fidel and to the Cuban Revolution. And she loved and was loved by the Cuban people. I was in Havana at the time of her death in January of 1980 and well remember the deep sadness it occasioned.”-Wayne S. Smith, senior fellow and director of the Cuba Project, Center for International Policy; former head, U.S. Interests Section in Havana,

“A penetrating and startling biography. . . takes on the importance of the work of Arundhati Roy or Noam Chomsky in its insistence on looking at facts rather than self-serving capitalist and neocolonialist myth. . . also a damn good read about a passionate, sensuous, and brilliant woman!”-Sapphire, author of Push and The Kid,

Library Journal
The Cuban revolution so closely associated with Fidel Castro and Che Guevara also involved those such as Camilo Cienfuegos, Eloy Menoyo, Frank Pais, and Celia Sanchez, all revolutionary heroes in their own right. Sanchez was Castro's supporter, confidante, and—depending on the source—his lover. In this impressive biography Stout (reference librarian, Fordham Univ. Libs.; Havana: La Habana) utilizes interviews, Cuban archives (to which she was granted special access by Castro himself), letters, and other documents to provide an accurate portrait of Sanchez, who ran the planning organization of the revolution after the death of Pais in 1957. Slight in stature, Sanchez saw combat and was arguably the most influential among Castro's cadre of revolutionary leaders. Her role during and after the revolution was remarkable, and Stout's biography tells her story as well as offering insights into other revolutionaries and their contributions. Sanchez's death from cancer in 1980 shook Castro and all of Cuba but her legacy remains in buildings and projects that bear her name. VERDICT Highly recommended for readers and scholars of Cuban history. With a foreword by Alice Walker.—Boyd Childress, formerly, Auburn Univ. Libs., AL
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781583673171
  • Publisher: Monthly Review Press
  • Publication date: 2/1/2013
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 675,898
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Nancy Stout is a writer and photographer living in New York City, currently employed by Fordham University as a Reference Librarian. Her books include Great American Thoroughbred Racetracks, Homestretch, The West Side YMCA: A Social and Architectural Retrospective, Havana/La Habana (with architect Jorge Rigau, who wrote the text), and Habanos: the Story of the Havana Cigar (author and photographer).

Alice Walker is an author, poet, and activist; she won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for her novel The Color Purple.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 13, 2013

    Excellent read

    Read this novel basd on Alice Walker's recommendation

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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