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Top 5 books on the Cuban revolution, chosen by Christopher Othen

The Cuba expert and author Christopher Othen picks five titles about Fidel Castro’s uprising

Christopher Othen, author of The Men from Miami: American Rebels on Both Sides of Fidel Castro’s Cuban Revolution , picks his top books about the Cuban revolution.

1. Cuba: A History by Hugh Thomas 

Cuba’s revolution emerged from a bloody history. In this book Thomas tracks the island from Spanish colony to the corrupt playground that inspired Castro to rebel.

2. The Man Who Invented Fidel: Castro, Cuba, and Herbert L Matthews of The New York Times by Anthony DePalma 

Castro was once a hero to many Americans. The man responsible was veteran journalist Herbert Matthews, who interviewed the rebel leader at the start of his campaign. 

3. Diary of a Combatant: The Diary of the Revolution that Made Che Guevara a Legend by Ernesto Che Guevara 

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These days his face is a familiar sight on posters and T-shirts. Back in 1958 Che Guevara was Castro’s most famous fellow rebel, and his diaries capture the rebellion’s romanticism and brutality. 

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4. A Rebel in Cuba by Neill Macaulay 

Even Americans joined Castro’s rebels. Former soldier and future academic Macaulay was among the first into Havana when Castro’s men claimed victory on New Year’s Day 1959.

The Men from Miami: American Rebels on Both Sides of Fidel Castro’s Cuban Revolution by Christopher Othen is out now (Biteback, £20)

5. Shadow Warrior: The CIA Hero of a Hundred Unknown Battles by Felix Rodriguez and John Weissman 

The Cubans who fled the revolution are also part of its history. Among them was Rodriguez, an exile who joined the CIA to take part in the Bay of Pigs invasion and other failed attempts to overthrow Castro.

You can buy The Men From Miami from The Big Issue shop on Bookshop.org, which helps to support The Big Issue and independent bookshops.

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