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My Life Paperback – 1 May 2008

4.8 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 736 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; 01 edition (1 May 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014102626X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141026268
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 3.6 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 93,877 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


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)

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.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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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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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By Spider Monkey HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 9 Jun. 2009
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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