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My Life [Hardcover]

Fidel Castro , Ignacio Ramonet , Andrew Hurley
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

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Book Description

29 Oct 2007
For years people have tried to persuade the leader of the Cuban Revolution to tell his own life story. Here, finally, Ignacio Ramonet, well-known activist and editor of "Le Monde Diplomatique", has succeeded. For the first time, in a series of probing interviews, Fidel Castro describes his life, from the 1950s all the way up to the present day. He discusses his parents, his earliest influences, the beginnings of the revolution, his relationship with Che Guevara, the Bay of Pigs, the Carter years, Cuban migration to the US. And along the way, Ramonet challenges Castro to discuss his views on a number of controversial questions, from human rights and freedom of the press to the repression of homosexuality and the survival of the death penalty, and he gives his opinion of other leaders, alive and dead, including George Bush and Tony Blair.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 736 pages
  • Publisher: Allen Lane; 1st Edition edition (29 Oct 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0713999209
  • ISBN-13: 978-0713999204
  • Product Dimensions: 4.5 x 16.2 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 311,949 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Gripping, almost cinematic (Guardian)

Irresistible (Financial Times)

Cubaphiles are all the richer for this book . Castro's prodigious gifts are well displayed: his formidable erudition, steely discipline, epic curiosity and his astute grasp of history (Financial Times)

Whatever happens after Castro has gone, this book will provide an indispensable perspective on his record (Guardian)

Castro's life has been extraordinary and he can tell a good story (Evening Standard)

A fascinating account (, Books of the Year Metro)

Extraordinary (, Books of the Year Observer) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Ignacio Ramonet is a specialist on geopolitics, economics and the history of culture and a professor of communication theory at the University Denis Diderot in Paris. He is the long-time editor of the French magazine, Le Monde Diplomatique, one of the founders of ATTAC international and a key player in organizing the first World Social Forum in Porto Alegre. In addition, Ramonet also founded the NGO Media Watch Global. Ramonet also frequently contributes to El Pais and participates in an advisory council to Telesur.

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
4.9 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Life 9 Jun 2009
By Spider Monkey HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
`My life' is Castro's autobiography as told in interview form with Ignacio Ramonet and it makes for fascinating reading. You get a question and answer format the whole way through, which actually makes for excellent flow and speedy reading. It is easy to read just one more question, and another and another.... You obviously get Castro's unique take on many aspects of his own and Cuban life and although at times he comes across as particularly angry and firey, generally you get a balanced take on his life events. He seems willing to acknowledge mistakes he's made, as well as inevitably highlighting his successes. It is interesting to get his side of the story on issues such as `Bay of Pigs', `The Cuban Missile Crisis' and the `Special Period' and you slowly realise that the propaganda fed to us in western countries may not be as true as we are led to believe. I read `The Cuban Reader' (an excellent book and highly recommended by the way) at the same time as this book and it made for a more rounded look at the overall picture. For example it is interesting to read Castro's take on homosexual persecution and then read an article in the aforementioned book that shows a similar or opposing view. It enabled me to read this book with a more critical eye and get more out of it. There are two colour photo sections in this book that show Castro at various stages in his life, from pre revolutionary up to aged world statesman. This book shows just how intelligent and charming Castro is, as well as leaving you impressed at his grasp on world history and current affairs. This is an extremely readable book and is immensely insightful and is worth looking at for all those interested in Cuba and Cuban life. As long as you are aware of the bias any autobiography engenders and are prepared to look a little deeper, this has so much to offer it would be remiss to not read it at some point.

Feel free to check out my blog which can be found on my profile page.
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59 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fidel - the truth will out 26 Mar 2008
Format:Hardcover
I have been utterly and surprisingly entranced by this book. I bought it to read on the plane to Havana and during a fantastic fortnight on this amazing island, Fidel's voice seemed to keep me company all the way. Even now, the power of his ethical vision for his people and his achievements stays with me and I feel sorry I was not more aware of what he has done sooner.

It is monstrous the way he has been denigrated by the USA and others and he is shown here to be probably the world's most brilliant political figure of the last 50 years. His main crime in the eys of the USA is his undying commitment to the revolutionary process, his unswerving belief in the possibility of an alternative to the presnt mad globalisation process and of course they have never forgiven him for outlasting 10 US presidents!

His is an extraordinary story of a survivor of over 600 CIA inspired assassination attempts, enormous personal bravery and fascinating views about history, culture, politics, the environment and, of course, Che.

His most amazing anecdote in the book was of how, at the height of the New Orleans flood tragedy, he actually offerd Bush 500 doctors to help out. For free! And of course Bush couldnt possibly accept. I think that counts as serious charisma in my book!

I cant recommend this book highly enough to people who want to believe that high principles and morality can actually triumph if your convictions are strong enough and if, as Che said, your revoluction is based on love of the people. '80 more years', as they say, tongue in cheek, on the posters in Havana!!!!
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50 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring account by a great and human man 12 Dec 2007
Format:Hardcover
This inspiring book is the result of conversations held in 2003-05. It is an autobiography à deux, `an oral summing-up of Fidel Castro's life by Fidel himself'.

Chapters cover his childhood and youth, his meeting Che Guevara, the 1959 Cuban revolution, the failed US attack at the Bay of Pigs, the 47-year US blockade, the incessant media attacks on Cuba, the US state's terrorist attacks on Cuba which have killed 3,500 people, the October 1962 crisis, Che's death, the collapse of the Soviet Union, globalisation, Cuba's relations with Spain, France and Latin America, and Cuba today.

Fidel is rightly proud of Cuba's magnificent achievements in education and health. Cuba's primary school children are first in the world in languages and maths. Cuba is first in the world in teachers per person and has the smallest class sizes. Cuba is educating thousands of people from Africa, Asia and Latin America, without charging a cent. Cuba provides government-sponsored scholarships to nearly 30,000 students from 121 countries currently enrolled in Cuba's universities, some 23,000 of whom are being trained as doctors.

Cuba is first in the world in doctors per person and is the largest educator of doctors in the world, ten times more than the USA. Cuba sends thousands of doctors to Africa, with its 30 million AIDS patients, while the whole EU cannot send even a hundred doctors there, instead stealing Africa's doctors and nurses. 37,000 Cuban health workers, including 18,000 doctors, are providing services in 79 countries. Since 2004, Cuba's Operation Miracle has restored sight to 1,000,000 patients from 32 countries.

Fidel has much to contribute to the debate on globalisation.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great value, my son is delighted with this book. Arrived promptly and in perfect condition.
Published 20 days ago by Bernie Dempsey
5.0 out of 5 stars I would even go so far as to say that he may be one of the most...
I can honestly say that this is one of the most interesting and fascinating books I have ever read. It is not really a biography, but an interview – Castro’s longest and last – in... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Nathaniel Dean James
5.0 out of 5 stars Viva Fidel
Condition of the book is great, especially for it being used. Packaging was excellent and the book arrived on time.
I haven't read it yet so can't comment on the book. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Paul
5.0 out of 5 stars book
this was a very interesting and insightful account of Fidel's whole life personal and political. I really enjoyed reading this book.
Published 4 months ago by N D Lacey
5.0 out of 5 stars Castro in Depth
I gave this book five stars because it is the only record that I have found which is printed in interview format. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Alcharsol
5.0 out of 5 stars Viva La Revolution!
Fidel Castro is a good Intelligent man who only try's to do the best for his people he has lived a fascinating life, He truly is a man of the people!
Published 18 months ago by Luke Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent service
I ordered this book for my husband for Christmas 2012.... I havent read it obviously, but he is well into all this stuff so he will love it !!!! Read more
Published 20 months ago by Cheeky86
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating account of a revolutionary life.
This is a very long read but it constantly left me wanting to read another chapter. Fidel is at his strongest when discussing the inequalities in the rest of the world and I found... Read more
Published 21 months ago by BH Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars An insight of a leader ..
Since the 1950s Fidel has been leading Cuba, a small country that many people can only relate to holidays, Guantanamo Bay and JFK and the missile crisis. Read more
Published on 28 April 2012 by H de Fanque
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational reading for our times.
I recently finished reading this extraordinary book and bought another copy for my granddaughter for Christmas. Read more
Published on 27 Dec 2011 by juanhabana
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