The authors did an excellent job documenting the events surrounding the Cuban Revolution of the 1950's.
If there was a strong bias, I certainly didn't...moreThe authors did an excellent job documenting the events surrounding the Cuban Revolution of the 1950's.
If there was a strong bias, I certainly didn't notice it. The authors thread together many different events and stories to create a compelling work and they seem to do it with a high level of professionalism and fairness.
At times, I found it to be a little overwhelming. New individuals are introduced quickly and sometimes it is hard to keep up with the flow as the authors quickly switch between narratives. But even with that fault, I give it 5 stars because it is a surpurb book.
This book avoids abstractions and and avoids the temptation to over-focus on broad ideologies, and therefore is able to deliver a potent survey of what exactly was going on amoung Cubans when the revolution was fomenting and occuring. It is detail oriented, and hones down right to each important player in the revolution. (less)
This book might be worth a read if you’d like to know what the American intelligence community thinks of Cuba and the Castro brothers. If, however, yo...moreThis book might be worth a read if you’d like to know what the American intelligence community thinks of Cuba and the Castro brothers. If, however, you’re looking for something a little more balanced and less polemical, I suggest you look elsewhere.
I have no naive admiration for the Cuban government. Cuba’s government has exhibited horrible aspects of totalitarianism. Any balanced treatment of the Castro brothers and the Cuban government will take them to task in various areas.
That said, for various reasons, this author’s approach lacks the credibility needed to make such charges.
When reading a book by someone in the intelligence community, one fully expects some slightly dodgy stuff. However, in the early stages of the book, I found that stereotype being challenged. I found myself getting drawn in and I found it to be much better than I expected. However, that was just an initial assessment. Part way through, the author seemed to implicitly “toss caution to the wind” and started to exhibit a major axe to grind.
There are more than a few places in this book which should raise the eyebrows of critical readers (which, of course, all readers should aspire to be). In the meat of the book, you will find that the author’s word choices and tone comes through in an awkward way. I think it fundamentally boils down to a lack of discipline. The author gives off the aura of an intelligence officer who is “getting a little too emotionally invested in his work”. It isn’t above him to get a little bit conspiratorial here and there too.
The author tosses around words and phrases such as “he probably fantasized”, “uncontrolled hubris”, “terrorist”, ’pathologically hostile”, “cruelly dismissive”, “unstable”, and “obviously under the pressure of” very carelessly. Of courses, these words and phrases are not wrong in and of themselves. But once you start getting significant piles of them, you have to start wondering. You don’t get the idea that careful documentation is occurring. Wild conjecture and an unremitting desire for novelty seems to stain much of the work that the author performed. And he has worked hard at this project!
A person who has a deep knowledge of Cuban history, culture, and events will not find it hard to find a tidy collection of miscitations, errors of fact, exaggerations, and questionable conjecture.
If you have a deep interest in Cuba, you will probably find the things the author talks about highly interesting. Just don’t take it as gospel. He’s probably right on some things, but he’s wrong on other things and rather sloppy at times.
It seems that this isn’t the only book by Latell that carries some of these flaws. I believe he’s shared a rather novel theory about Fidel having foreknowledge of JFK’s assassination. And there has been considerable controversy surrounding it. A review of one of the author’s other books appeared on George Mason University’s History News Network website. The author shared similar concerns about Brian Latell’s historical method in speaking of his “poor historical judgment”.(less)