This is the first book in more than three decades to offer a complete and chronological history of revolutionary Cuba, including the years of rebellion that led to the revolution. Beginning with Batista's coup in 1952, which catalyzed the rebels, and bringing the reader to the present-day transformations initiated by Raul Castro, Luis Martinez-Fernandez provides a balanced interpretive synthesis of the major topics of contemporary Cuban history.
Expertly weaving the myriad historic, social, and political forces that shaped the island nation during this period, Martinez-Fernandez examines the circumstances that allowed the revolution to consolidate in the early 1960s, the Soviet influence throughout the latter part of the Cold War, and the struggle to survive the catastrophic Special Period of the 1990s after the collapse of the U.S.S.R. He tackles the island's chronic dependence on sugar production, which started with the plantations centuries ago and continues to shape culture and society. He analyzes the revolutionary pendulum that continues to swing between idealism and pragmatism, focusing on its effects on the everyday lives of the Cuban people, and-bucking established trends in Cuban scholarship-Martinez-Fernandez systematically integrates the Cuban diaspora into the larger discourse of the revolution.
Concise, well written, and accessible, this book is an indispensable survey of the history and themes of the socialist revolution that forever changed Cuba and the world.
Luis Martinez-Fernandez, professor of history at the University of Central Florida, USA, is coeditor of Encyclopedia of Cuba: People, History, Culture and the author of numerous books including Frontiers, Plantations, and Walled Cities: Essays on Society, Culture and Politics in the Hispanic Caribbean.