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My Life

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  915 ratings  ·  64 reviews
My Life Castro is the only world leader to have outlasted nine US presidents, has survived over 600 assassination attempts and remains one of the twentieth century's most controversial figures. This title tells Castro's story, explaining thing from his parents and earliest influences to his imprisonment, guerrilla war and the Cuban revolution. Full description
Paperback, 723 pages
Published May 1st 2008 by Penguin Books (first published January 1st 2006)
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Ed
Jan 16, 2009 Ed rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: someone with a lot of time to kill
I read this book at the request of a friend who thought it might be good for a me since, in his opinion, my perspective was too pro-US. Whatever, but I thought it might be interesting. Whatever one thinks about Castro, he certainly was present for some interesting things in history. And I knew very little about Cuban history, so what the hey?

In several ways the book is really fascinating. I do have a bit more sympathy for Castro having read this. It seems that, for all his wrong ideas, he probab...more
Eddie
I have the utmost respect for Fidel. His memory is fantastic and the way he describes various battles and the strategies the 26th of July utilized in the revolution. His memories of Che and Fidel's discussion of ethics both in war and in peace are exemplary. This book was completed in 2005 and many things have changed since then but the interviews can stand alone at any age.
Mike
I got through 3/4's of this book before I lost it, and I really enjoyed reading about Fidel's life. The author did not hold back during his interviews (because he is supposedly Anti-Castro), and a lot of his questions opened up many discussion topics throughout the book. I ended up admiring Castro a lot more after reading the book because I think Castro is what Cuba needed (which is a Latin-American country that was not "controlled" by foreign interests).
Gmesfin
An extraordinary life of a person who lived to stand up for the life of the opperessed even if he was born in a rich family. Whether you agree or disagree his politics, you can't deny his geniune selflesness.
Tanya Faberson
Fantastic book. I definitely recommend it as an interesting read about one of the most fascinating leaders in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. And shame on the United States government. Even before I heard what Fidel's perspective as Cuba's leader of the Revolution had to say, I was disgusted by what we, as the American people backing our government, have perpetrated against Cuba. And I still don't understand why we allow the Ex-pats in Florida to still run the show when it comes to our...more
Nathaniel James
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 which Ramonet covers his entire life from childhood to the present (2005). Although Ramonet is an avowed socialist himself and has known Castro for many years, he pulls few punches in tackling not only personal questions, but also the many allegations and accusations made against Cuba over the decades.

Say what you will...more
Brian Badonde
An awesome tome on an awesome man, love him or hate him, he is a giant of politics and a great man with extraordinary abilities. Though this book does seem awash with propaganda (there has never been any torture in Cuba reminds me of "no homosexuals in Iran"), it is easy to see through them and it serves as a great insight into a great mind. However, with Fidel now writing his own memoirs, I would rather wait and buy them.
Paris Marx
Castro's memory and honesty in these pages is very telling of his character. He is a great man and one of the most important figures of the twentieth century, and anyone who reads this book can see why. He does not hesitate to call out the United States for their actions, and is open on the issues Cuba's faced over the years.

I recommend this to anyone with interest in Cuba, Castro, and socialism.
Shaqer Rasheed
Castro is one of the epic figures of 20th century. The REAL HERO of cuban independence, for to me pre-1959 Cuba was not truly an independent country. He restored dignity and self respect to his country and defied he posturing of an imperialist super power only 90 miles away. Ignacio Ramonet has the requisite left wing credentials to present the account of this larger than life figure for posterity.
Dianne Parr
I have never read something so political and been so fascinated at the same time. Fidel Castro has led a very interesting life, and his ability to get himself into very intriguing situations, and his delve into his political and moral thoughts just keeps you glued. At the end, you come to have a great understanding of Fidel Castro through his words, rather than everyone else.
Lauren
This book took me forever to get through. SOmetimes I read pages and realized I spent the whole time actually thinking about dinner and I had no idea what happened. It read more like Castro's tidy record keeping than a thrilling life story. He remembers every insignificant detail which is good but also really bad if you want to be entertained.
Abul Kalam
I really wanted to like this book, but when it says his life, it meant to say the first chapter his childhood the rest of the book was about Cuban Polatics. This was the single most boring book i have ever read in my life, i havent read many but this was the most boring............ oh its also in question and answer form all the way through
Henryfrank
I little colored in his favor but very interesting to hear, I think growing up in America he was never anything but a film clip and a demonized political figure in books. It's fascinating to hear his side of it as biased a version of reality as it is.
Brenda
Absolutely astounding to hear Castro's story. Sadly, this brilliant man has been portrayed as a monster for decades. Brilliant, engaged and completely self-aware, it is refreshing to hear his own voice in this fascinating interview style biography.
Hillary Corwin
600 pages pass quickly, and Castro's power in oration is made absolutely clear. The stories are fascinating, and it provides an interesting counterpoint to the version of these stories that are typically available to the US audience.
Andrew
This is an autobiography of Fidel Castro. In this book, he talks about his life and how he became the leader of Cuba. I used this book as research for my school project. It had pretty usefull info.
Jww
Could use less of the author/interviewer's voice and more of Castro's (then again, Castro can be very long-winded and is, in his own word and his own eyes, never wrong).
Dwayne
Fidel Castro a political figure shrouded in many myths. It is easy to get steered away from what Fidel is like, because of the simple fact you don't know what is and isn't true.
Throughout the book I was always at a clash with what I heard about Cuba from US sources and then what I heard about Cuba from Castro, and in this sense it was always hard to decide whether the decisions were correct or incorrect on Fidel's part.

Despite struggling to know what really happened, reading this allowed me to s...more
Karan Bakshi
brilliantly written by the great man and a must read for all those who have communist ideals..
Tasha
What an amazing book. It took me a while to get through but it was worth every moment.
David
I cannot over state just how important this book is in putting on record the thoughts and storties of one of the most controversial leaders of the 20th and 21st century. This will most likely stand at the definitive record of the accounts of events ranging from the Cuban revolution to the October Missile Crisis.

This book does not take the format of traditional biographies owing to the pressures of the Commandantes time, and instead is done in the form of an interview done over several sessions l...more
Robin
Aug 12, 2010 Robin is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Have read about one half. Really interesting political leader. Very sharp.
John Panagiotopoulos
Revolutionary. Must read. Shows where principles and values can lead you.
Kirk Bower
Papa Castro - you have an interesting view on history.
Usman W. Chohan
nice to read about the face on the other side of the coin.
Asif
I have just about finished listening to this audiobook and it is a fascinating account of Castro's life in his own words. It is also very long and exceptionally detailed on the politics. Fidel gives his views on all manner of things and it is refreshing to hear a political leader speaking so eloquently and honestly. The first part details his family and childhood and education--for me this was the most fascinating section of all as Castro really talked in detail about his private life. Then, in...more
Marc Cooper
I am not a fan of Castro but it is interesting to try to understand contrasting figures in history. With this book being a sort of long interview autobiography one can learn something from how he speaks, answers, and leads conversation. One thing that strikes me, is that if you were a dictator only interested in holding on to all the power, it would be very convenient if the only two other modern leaders within your country who you happened to find worth much praising happened to be a dead man a...more
Zhou
I enjoyed the first three quarters of this book, as it was historical in nature, and I was fascinated by Castro's dream and the action he took to see it through. But as the last quarter of the book progressed, Castro's self-aggrandizing built to a ridiculous crescendo, and he came off delusional and embittered. Ignacio Ramonet, who asked no tough questions in the first three fourths of the book, asked only a few in the last quarter, and when it was clear that Castro was providing delusional answ...more
Jari
This book is basically over 600 pages long interview with Fidel Castro. It's written in the Q&A form.

Mostly it is an extremely fascinating read but there are parts that drag quite a lot. Especially the chapters about historically insignificant or minor incidents (such as the chapter about aircraft hijacking in April, 2003) drag when Castro goes thoroughly through every possible detail of them. Exhausting.

But when he talks about people, events, politics, social issues and other matters that a...more
Ran
One voice of the two mentioned in the title of this book is so faint that it brings up the question of its necessity. The interviewing journalist, Ignacio Ramonet, is playing it safe and doesn't ask questions challenging enough to cast a new light upon what one already knows about Castro's beliefs.
Fortunately, the defects mentioned above do not overshade Fidel Castro's exceptional(for better or worse)persona and his knowledgeable analysis of the historic and political events that took place duri...more
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Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz (Spanish: [fiˈðel ˈkastro]; born August 13, 1926) is a Cuban communist revolutionary and politician who was Prime Minister of Cuba from 1959 to 1976, and President from 1976 to 2008. He also served as the Commander in Chief of the Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces from 1959 to 2008, and as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba from 1961 until 2011. Politicall...more
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“...quality of life lies in knowledge, in culture. Values are what constitute true quality of life, the supreme quality of life, even above food, shelter and clothing.” 14 likes
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