Editor’s Note

“In his words...”

This “spoken autobiography” is based on more than 100 hours of interviews with the Cuban leader, as he stepped down due to health issues after five decades in power.
Scribd Editor

From the Publisher

Fidel Castro is perhaps the most charismatic and controversial head of state in modern times. A dictatorial pariah to some, he has become a hero and inspiration for many of the world's poor, defiantly charting an independent and revolutionary path for Cuba over nearly half a century.

Numerous attempts have been made to get Castro to tell his own story. But only now, in the twilight of his years, has he been prepared to set out the details of his remarkable biography for the world to read. This book is nothing less than his living testament. As he told reporters, his desire to finish checking its text was the one thing that kept him going through his recent illness. He presented a copy of the book in its Spanish edition to his compadre President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela.

In these pages, Castro narrates a compelling chronicle that spans the harshness of his elementary school teachers; the early failures of the revolution; his intense comradeship with Che Guevara and their astonishing, against-all-odds victory over the dictator Batista; the Cuban perspective on the Bay of Pigs and the ensuing missile crisis; the active role of Cuba in African independence movements (especially its large military involvement in fighting apartheid South Africa in Angola); his relations with prominent public figures such as Boris Yeltsin, Pope John Paul II, and Saddam Hussein; and his dealings with no less than ten successive American presidents, from Eisenhower to George W. Bush.

Castro talks proudly of increasing life expectancy in Cuba (now longer than in the United States); of the half million students in Cuban universities; and of the training of seventy thousand Cuban doctors nearly half of whom work abroad, assisting the poor in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. He is confronted with a number of thorny issues, including democracy and human rights, discrimination toward homosexuals, and the continuing presence of the death penalty on Cuban statute books. Along the way he shares intimacies about more personal matters: the benevolent strictness of his father, his successful attempt to give up cigars, his love of Ernest Hemingway's novels, and his calculation that by not shaving he saves up to ten working days each year.

Drawing on more than one hundred hours of interviews with Ignacio Ramonet, a knowledgeable and trusted interlocutor, this spoken autobiography will stand as the definitive record of an extraordinary life lived in turbulent times.

Topics: Communism

Published: Scribner on
ISBN: 9781416562504
List price: $3.99
Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
Availability for Fidel Castro: My Life: A Spoken Autobiography
With a 30 day free trial you can read online for free
  1. This book can be read on up to 6 mobile devices.

Related Articles

Nautilus
12 min read

Chasing James Bond’s Hummingbird: I venture to Cuba in search of the world’s smallest bird.

To find the Cuban bee hummingbird—the smallest avian species in existence, the one whose iridescent plumage, in Key lime green, lipstick red, and sapphire blue, matches the palettes of the classic cars along Havana’s Malecón—it’s best to track down famed bird guide El Chino Zapata. So in late May, I arranged for a fixer named Domingo to drop a peso-stuffed envelope at a Havana hotel (my credit and debit cards didn’t work on the island) and set off from Havana to the Bay of Pigs, where El Chino dwells. This is what you do to get there: hail a cab in Old Havana with its crumbling Crayola vibranc
TIME
9 min read
Politics

How Castro Will Be Trump’s First Foreign Policy Test

BY NEARLY EVERY AVAILABLE MEASURE, FIDEL Castro lived just a little too long. His was a death foretold by nearly everybody for decades, a demise anticipated for the political change it was widely assumed would surely follow. The prospect of Cuba without the man who turned it into a Soviet satellite so tantalized the U.S. government that its darker sectors set up a cottage industry aimed at hastening the day: according to a 1975 Senate investigation, the CIA set out plan after plan to assassinate Castro, most notoriously by poisoning a box of his favorite cigars. All any of it did was make him
Newsweek
3 min read

Why Cuba’s Muslim Population Is Growing

The first time a pope ever set foot in Cuba was in 1998, when John Paul II traveled to the Communist state. The visit was the result of a thaw between the Vatican and Cuba’s president, Fidel Castro, who banned religion in 1959 when he seized power. Cuba’s majority-Catholic population welcomed the pontiff with great excitement; several hundred thousand people, including Castro, attended the Mass led by the pope in Havana. Meanwhile, a small number of other Cubans drew their own conclusion from the regime’s growing tolerance of religion: Perhaps soon the state would increasingly accept Islam too