Who was Fidel Castro? In the summer of 1958, 300 bearded revolutionaries, led by a 30-year-old lawyer named Fidel, turned the tides of war in Cuba by defeating 12,000 soldiers in combat. How was this possible?
If you want to understand Cuba of the last 60 years, you must first understand who Fidel Castro was, and the events of the Cuban Revolution of 1953 to 1959.
The revolution began in 1953 with a botched insurrection in Santiago, Cuba. Fidel was captured and put on trial where he defended himself, finishing with the now immortal words: “Condemn me. It does not matter. History will absolve me.”
Fidel was imprisoned, granted amnesty, exiled to Mexico, and then led an invasion of Cuba with 81 revolutionaries aboard a pleasure yacht called the Granma. Only 18 men survived. How did Fidel build this small band of guerillas into an army that would sweep to power in Cuba?
Who was the rifle-toting woman who became Fidel’s most trusted advisor as well as his lover?
These questions and more are answered in the thrilling I Am Cuba, which is a historically accurate novel detailing society, politics, war, and love in Cuba in the 1950s.
I am Cuba is a military historical fiction about Fidel Castro’s battle, beginning with such a small army to when he becomes the most powerful man in Cuba. It is apparent how much research and works the author has done to provide such a rich story. One of the essential aspects of historical fiction is for it to be factually correct and plausible. This adds to the work’s richness and enables the reader to feel along with the characters and storyline. The author superbly executed this matter. Castro’s revolution is fascinating to read, and as much as I enjoyed the book, I also learned so much. The other exciting notion was how the author understood Castro by reading and researching both sides of the tales. Of course, the dialogue or thoughts were all part of the fictional story. However, everything was so beautifully set. I recommend this book to anyone who likes to read historical fiction.
I Am Cuba brings history alive. History was never one of my strong subjects, it always seemed boring and dry to me. This historically accurate novel, although technically fiction, brings the Cuban Revolution to life. A gripping story that you won’t want to put down.
This book, while deeply historical and interesting, was also a real page turner. It brings these figures out of history back to life and allows the reader to peer inside what it must have been like to overthrow the corrupt Batista regime. I highly recommend it.
The author really paints a vivid picture. It’s extremely descriptive, from the characters to the landscapes and distinct encounters. I found it just the right balance of history, politics, humanity, sex, and violence to keep me truly engaged.
I am Cuba; Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution by Matthew Langdon Cost Published: March 2020 Publisher: Encircle Publications Genre: Historical Fiction, Military Fiction, International Pages: paperback 294 Available: paperback, ebook Sex: 💗yes, rape scene Violence: 😱Yes, graphic Reviewers Note: I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Author Bio: Matthew Langdon Cost has a published historical on Joshua Chamberlain and an upcoming historical on Fidel Castro, as well as a mystery trilogy set in Maine soon to follow. Over the years, Cost has owned a video store, a mystery bookstore, a gym, as well as taught history and coached just about every sport imaginable. He now lives in Brunswick, Maine, with his wife, Harper. There are four grown children; Brittany, Pearson, Miranda, and Ryan. A Chocolate Lab and a Bassett Hound round out the mix. He now spends his days at the computer writing. The Plot in Brief: This is the story of the Cuban Revolution from it’s shaky disorganized beginning to it’s ultimate success in overthrowing the government of Fulgencio Batista. This book covers the time period of 1951-1959. The History: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐Clearly the author has put an enormous amount of research into this book. The narrative is filled with dates and times, places, and more names than I can recall. Battles are described in great detail and the reader gets a great sense of what it was like to fight a guerrilla war against an American backed government with tanks and airplanes at their disposal. It’s also amazing to see how close they (the rebels) came to losing on multiple occasions. On one level the book reads almost like a non-fiction blow by blow of the revolution. Some readers may love this deep dive into military maneuvers others may not. I admit my eyes glazed over in some parts and I skipped over some of the graphic blood shed. The Writing: ⭐⭐⭐⭐The book is told from a 3rd person point of view, from multiple characters. The overall quality of the prose is pretty good, but I found it sometimes a bit uneven and overly wordy. Minor quibble: There are a lot of Spanish words and phrases thrown in and mixed with American slang and anachronisms. I sometimes wondered what language they were meant to be speaking. Overall: I was surprised that in a book about Fidel Castro, his is not the main voice of the story. The predominant voice is a character called Vicente Bolivar, the book begins and ends with him. And it is this character which utters the phrase, ‘I am Cuba.’ Vicente grows from a young man unsure of his place in Cuba to a hardened revolutionary soldier. This fictional character humanizes the face of the fighters and also allows us to sympathize with a group of people we would otherwise castigate as Marxists rebels, enemies of the American Government. I was expecting a more Castro centered story, his view of the revolution, but the is narrative much broader and so his role in telling his own story is reduced to small bites. That being said, I did enjoy learning about the core group of revolutionaries like Che Guevara and Cecilia Sanchez, who may or may not have been Fidel’s lover. I found the role of women in this revolution to be well, revolutionary. Women were respected leaders and commanders under Castro, who wisely used the talents of anyone willing to fight alongside him, irrespective of their sex. Recommendation: Any one with a love of historical fiction, especially centered in New World, will enjoy this book on the Cuban Revolution. I rate this book 4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
I definitely recommend ordering this book! Very interesting and keeps you engaged!
Excellent read. I knew little about these early years of Fidel Castro & his rise to power. Found Costs portrayal of events engaging & informative. Kept my interest throughout. Very well written; I highly recommend.
I Am Cuba is a highly detailed and well-researched story that readers may find quite surprising, especially as regards the humanity of the revolutionaries and the degree to which the United States’ interests in Cuba were the source of friction that led to that revolution. But much more than a book about international politics, it is a gripping war story, covering the entire conflict from Fidel Castro’s faltering first forays into battle with an army of eighteen men to his becoming the most powerful man in Cuba, worshipped by millions. It is, as well, a human story about the suffering of a nation slowly giving rise to a resolve to unseat the corrupt government that ruled over and repressed them. Though I Am Cuba is stocked full of historical figures, such as Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, it views the revolution primarily through the eyes of two fictional characters: Vicente Bolivar, a young revolutionary, and Sophia, the niece of an American mobster who Vicente falls in love with and who joins the revolution. Given their perspectives, the story becomes that much more compelling, allowing the reader to track the evolution of their relationship and as well as of their political leanings as they witness the Cuban government’s repressive tactics against innocent civilians as well as the various revolutionary leaders attempts, faltering at first, to win battles and attract followers. The reader can’t help but feel sympathy for the revolutionaries as they deal with many defeats, sacrifices and hardships before finally achieving success. And while Castro is painted as a ruthless and egotistical leader, he is also portrayed as brilliant, charismatic and far more compassionate and sympathetic to the cause of the Cuban people than perhaps we’ve been lead to believe. We learn, for instance, how forward-thinking he was in his treatment of women, treating them as equals, strategizing with them as he does his generals, allowing them to participate in battle alongside his men, and going so far as to create a platoon made up solely of women. While I Am Cuba is a novel, its detailed descriptions of battles and settings, and of the many people who played important roles in the revolution, give it a veneer of authenticity more typical of a history book, while its warmth and humanity in the portrayal of its characters make it an enjoyable story to read.
“I Am Cuba” by Matthew Langdon Cost is a unique approach to putting a history lesson into an enjoyable and insightful fictional story. Giving a detailed summary of Fidel Castro as a person, and Cuba as a country, during that period of disruption has been taken into a different realm of understanding though this enjoyable book. Most history books I have read are insightful, but do little to put them on a personal enjoyable basis. I would recommend this book to everyone for a knowledgeable and entertaining understanding of why and how Fidel Castro became the leader of Cuba.
Wonderful read. A great vehicle to learn more about Cuba and Castro. Makes one want to visit the beautiful country. Book flows and pages kept being turned.
Cost has written a fast-paced page turner that vividly describes—and almost causes us to participate in—the Castro brothers’ fascinating attempts to overcome the Batista regime in Cuba. This is an historical account that must be compared to the stories and policies brokered by brothers: both Dulles and Kennedy. A must-read!
History does not usually gain my attention and this book surprisingly left me wanting more every time I had to put it down. When violence took place I found myself praying the main characters would come out alive and when I was teased by romantic scenes I felt my body become warm and my heart accelerate. The way, I Am Cuba, makes me feel is moving, but what really caused a spark in me is the new knowledge I have gained. I highly suggest everyone read this book, but especially the ones that have had difficulty being captured by history. This book is a new opportunity to enjoy learning.
In I AM CUBA, Matt Cost has written an entertaining and informative novel detailing the Cuban revolution. Using letters from John Foster Dulles, Cost expertly weaves history with fictional narrative to tell a riveting story of strife and self-determinism. Through the main character, Vincente Bolivar, the author carries us through the events that eventually led to Fidel Castro’s rise. Both Fidel and Che Guevara come to life in this amazing story, and there were times in the novel that I felt I was fighting in the humid jungle right alongside them. Cost has done his homework and through his extensive narrative we are both educated and entertained by his take on the Cuban revolution. This is a novel I highly recommend!