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Cuba Libre!

Che, Fidel, and the Improbable Revolution That Changed World History
Written by: Tony Perrottet
Narrated by: Robertson Dean
Length: 12 hrs and 42 mins
Categories: History, Political
5 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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Publisher's Summary

The surprising story of Che Guevara, Fidel Castro, and the scrappy band of rebel men and women who followed them.

Most people are familiar with the basics of the Cuban Revolution of 1956-1959: it was led by two of the 20th century’s most charismatic figures, Fidel Castro and Che Guevara; it successfully overthrew the island nation’s US-backed dictator; and it quickly went awry under Fidel's rule.

But less is remembered about the amateur nature of the movement or the lives of its players. In this wildly entertaining and meticulously researched account, historian and journalist Tony Perrottet unravels the human drama behind history’s most improbable revolution: a scruffy handful of self-taught revolutionaries - many of them kids just out of college, literature majors, and art students, and including a number of extraordinary women - who defeated 40,000 professional soldiers to overthrow the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista. 

Cuba Libre!’s deep dive into the revolution reveals fascinating details: How did Fidel’s highly organized lover Celia Sánchez whip the male guerrillas into shape? Who were the two dozen American volunteers who joined the Cuban rebels? How do you make lethal land mines from condensed milk cans - or, for that matter, cook chorizo à la guerrilla (sausage guerrilla-style)?

Cuba Libre! is an absorbing look back at a liberation movement that captured the world's imagination with its spectacular drama, foolhardy bravery, tragedy, and, sometimes, high comedy - and that set the stage for Cold War tensions that pushed the world to the brink of nuclear war. 

©2019 Tony Perrottet (P)2019 Penguin Audio

What the critics say

“An excellent chronology of Cuba’s liberation - dramatic, human, and illuminating.” (Paul Theroux, author of The Great Railway Bazaar)

"An excellent new entry on the subject, with a memorable opening line and highly enjoyable chapters. If you read only one recent book on Cuba, have it be this delightful popular history." (Library Journal, starred) 

“Perrottet’s history excels in putting a human face on the fighters...the revolution’s real stars were the smart and strong women who acted as spies, couriers, logistical experts, and ultimately as the bravest, fiercest, and most indispensable combatants.” (Booklist

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great book and a great take on the story.

great story and part of history of Cuba, it's stole my heart. the reader was very entertaining to add to the story made it hard to stop inbetween chapters.

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  • Stephen
  • 2019-03-10

WOW! What an awesome story

I know Fidel and Che as Cold War cliche icons but almost nothing about the Cuban Revolution itself. Perrottet sets out to retell that story afresh by puttung aside the animosity between the US and Cuba with a straight up "this is what happened" retelling without presuming to know what would transpire in the years after the revolution, and to do so with the flare of a novelist. The story is way better than I imagined. It is something of a fairy tale. The literary aspect is not by accident as Fidel and his group were college educated urbane middle-class romantics, they were reading books by Emile Zola, Edward Gibbon and Cervantes while building tree forts in the jungle. How they went from 20 unlikely guys (and a few women) in the remotest mountains who forgot to bring shaving razors, to conquering the island (and the attention of the world) is the stuff of legend. It is a wonderfully fun and upbeat story. Don't worry about the ideology, communism doesn't even enter the story until after the revolution. Read it for entertainment, for education, this is one great tale with clear good and bad guys, overcoming improbable odds, fame and fortune, humor and drama set in an exotic land of pristine jungle mountains, mafioso casinos, coffee farmers, feudal landlords, and a cast of colorful people. What a delightful way to learn about Cuba as everything comes back this moment and nothing afterwards can be understood without it.

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  • Zachary Chapin
  • 2019-01-29

Deep look into an interesting time

Fascinating story, couldn't stop listening until it was complete. Hearing all of the details of the revolution was eye opening.