100 books like Fulgencio Batista

By Frank Argote-Freyre,

Here are 100 books that Fulgencio Batista fans have personally recommended if you like Fulgencio Batista. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of José Martí: A Revolutionary Life

Ilan Ehrlich Author Of Eduardo Chibás: The Incorrigible Man of Cuban Politics

From my list on biographies peeking into the lives of Cuban people.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was weaned on Cuban stories by my Havana-born mother and first visited the island in 1998. Since then, I earned a PhD in history from the Graduate Center, City University of New York–where I studied twentieth-century Cuban politics. While conducting research in Havana and Miami, I confirmed that legends were imbibed with the same fervor as café cubano. All histories are marked by tall tales, but Cubans are governed by theirs, inside and out, more than most. 

Ilan's book list on biographies peeking into the lives of Cuban people

Ilan Ehrlich Why did Ilan love this book?

José Martí is Cuba’s secular saint who represents all things to all Cubans. He was the idol of Cuba’s first generation to come of age in independent Cuba, during the 1920s, who were taught he was a Christ-like figure who sacrificed himself for Cuban independence. Fulgencio Batista adored him, Fidel Castro revered him, and anti-communist Cuban exiles worshiped him. Even so, Martí was largely unknown on the island during his lifetime and at the time of his death in 1895. This biography of Martí depicts him as a human as well as a hero. 

By Alfred J. López,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked José Martí as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Jose Marti (1853-1895) was the founding hero of Cuban independence. In all of modern Latin American history, arguably only the "Great Liberator" Simon Bolivar rivals Marti in stature and legacy. Beyond his accomplishments as a revolutionary and political thinker, Marti was a giant of Latin American letters, whose poetry, essays, and journalism still rank among the most important works of the region. Today he is revered by both the Castro regime and the Cuban exile community, whose shared veneration of the "apostle" of freedom has led to his virtual apotheosis as a national saint.

In Jose Marti: A Revolutionary Life,…


Book cover of Give Me Liberty: The True Story of Oswaldo Payá and his Daring Quest for a Free Cuba

Ilan Ehrlich Author Of Eduardo Chibás: The Incorrigible Man of Cuban Politics

From my list on biographies peeking into the lives of Cuban people.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was weaned on Cuban stories by my Havana-born mother and first visited the island in 1998. Since then, I earned a PhD in history from the Graduate Center, City University of New York–where I studied twentieth-century Cuban politics. While conducting research in Havana and Miami, I confirmed that legends were imbibed with the same fervor as café cubano. All histories are marked by tall tales, but Cubans are governed by theirs, inside and out, more than most. 

Ilan's book list on biographies peeking into the lives of Cuban people

Ilan Ehrlich Why did Ilan love this book?

To some, Cuba is a plucky, embargo-defying success story, with top educational and medical systems – the latter of which ensures Cubans live longer on average than Americans. Hoffman’s biography of Oswaldo Payá lays bare the regime’s darkest depths. As a young man, Payá was harassed and persecuted for his Catholic faith. He later devised the Varela Project, which sought to legally change Cuba’s 1976 constitution and allow democratic freedoms. Payá remained an outspoken critic of Cuba’s one-party state and refused to leave despite constant threats from state security agents. In 2012, they ran his car off the road and he was killed in the ensuing crash.  

By David E. Hoffman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Give Me Liberty as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the Pulitzer Prize–winning Washington Post reporter David E. Hoffman comes the riveting biography of Oswaldo Payá, a dissident who dared to defy Fidel Castro, inspiring thousands of Cubans to fight for democracy.

Oswaldo Payá was seven years old when Fidel Castro seized power in Cuba, promising to create a “free, democratic, and just Cuba.” But Castro instead created an authoritarian regime with little tolerance of free speech or thought. His secret police were trained to crush dissent by East Germany’s ruthless Stasi.

Throughout Cuba’s 20th century history, the dream of democracy was often just within reach, only to be…


Book cover of Bacardi and the Long Fight for Cuba: The Biography of a Cause

David Carey Jr. Author Of Distilling the Influence of Alcohol: Aguardiente in Guatemalan History

From my list on alcohol in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Why am I passionate about this?

Raised on happy hours on Cape Cod, MA patios with my Irish-American relatives, I long have been fascinated by how alcohol can bring people together and facilitate bonds that traverse both hardship and joy. During my travels and research in Mexico, Chile, Peru, Guatemala, and Ecuador, I observed how alcohol could both render families asunder and unite communities. As addiction makes clear, alcohol could hold tremendous power over individuals. But it also marked the identities of even the most casual drinkers. Throughout my research on other topics—crime, gender, medicine—alcohol consistently emerges as a crucial avenue of inquiry. The books listed below offer innovative and insightful ways of centering alcohol in scholarly narratives. 

David's book list on alcohol in Latin America and the Caribbean

David Carey Jr. Why did David love this book?

I love how Gjelten made me reconsider the ways histories of alcohol and nations were intertwined.

With his study of a rum company that survived the transition from capitalism to communism, the journalist Tom Gjelten observes that Bacardi rum executives advanced legislation designed to undermine their competitors and ultimately forged a brand that shaped Cubans’ and foreigners’ perceptions of the island.

This political and cultural history of Bacardi reveals alcohol’s integral role in forging newly independent nations. More specifically, Gjelten demonstrates how alcohol companies shaped nations.

This study made me think about how types of alcohol—like rum in Cuba, tequila in Mexico, pisco in Chile—were often at the heart of national movements and identities, and could become symbols of national pride. 

By Tom Gjelten,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Bacardi and the Long Fight for Cuba as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this widely hailed book, NPR correspondent Tom Gjelten fuses the story of the Bacardi family and their famous rum business with Cuba's tumultuous experience over the last 150 years to produce a deeply entertaining historical narrative. The company Facundo Bacardi launched in Cuba in 1862 brought worldwide fame to the island, and in the decades that followed his Bacardi descendants participated in every aspect of Cuban life. With his intimate account of their struggles and adventures across five generations, Gjelten brings to life the larger story of Cuba's fight for freedom, its tortured relationship with America, the rise of…


Book cover of Our Rightful Share: The Afro-Cuban Struggle for Equality, 1886-1912

Ilan Ehrlich Author Of Eduardo Chibás: The Incorrigible Man of Cuban Politics

From my list on biographies peeking into the lives of Cuban people.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was weaned on Cuban stories by my Havana-born mother and first visited the island in 1998. Since then, I earned a PhD in history from the Graduate Center, City University of New York–where I studied twentieth-century Cuban politics. While conducting research in Havana and Miami, I confirmed that legends were imbibed with the same fervor as café cubano. All histories are marked by tall tales, but Cubans are governed by theirs, inside and out, more than most. 

Ilan's book list on biographies peeking into the lives of Cuban people

Ilan Ehrlich Why did Ilan love this book?

This is only a biography in the loosest sense, one of Afro-Cubans from the year slavery was abolished until an ugly racial massacre that claimed thousands of innocent victims. In 1892, José Martí famously declared that “There is no racial hatred because there are no races.” The following year he wrongly predicted that “In Cuba, there will never be a racial war.” Cuba’s independence myth was founded on the idea that there would be no white or black Cubans, only Cubans. Yet in 1912, two Afro-Cuban politicians, Pedro Ivonet and Evaristo Estenoz, both veterans of Cuba’s independence struggle, some of their followers, and thousands of Afro-Cubans in the wrong place at the wrong time, were massacred in a frenzy of racial hatred.

By Aline Helg,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Our Rightful Share as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Our Rightful Share , Aline Helg examines the issue of race in Cuban society, politics, and ideology during the island's transition from a Spanish colony to an independent state. She challenges Cuba's well-established myth of racial equality and shows that racism is deeply rooted in Cuban creole society. Helg argues that despite Cuba's abolition of slavery in 1886 and its winning of independence in 1902, Afro-Cubans remained marginalized in all aspects of society. After the wars for independence, in which they fought en masse, Afro-Cubans demanded change politically by forming the first national black party in the Western Hemisphere.…


Book cover of Pleasure Island: Tourism and Temptation in Cuba

Van Gosse Author Of Where the Boys Are: Cuba, Cold War and the Making of a New Left

From my list on Cuba and the United States.

Why am I passionate about this?

Van Gosse, Professor of History at Franklin & Marshall College, is the author of Where the Boys Are: Cuba, Cold War America, and the Making of a New Left, published in 1993 and still in print, a classic account of how "Yankees" engaged with the Cuban Revolution in its early years. Since then he has published widely on solidarity with Latin America and the New Left; for the past ten years he has also taught a popular course, "Cuba and the United States: The Closest of Strangers."

Van's book list on Cuba and the United States

Van Gosse Why did Van love this book?

The Machado Era (1924-1933) and the build-up of U.S. tourism are key to Cuba’s later history, but I have always found that period hard to teach. Schwartz does an admirable job of documenting the close connections between business circles in both countries, and the process by which Cuba became a playground for wealthy Americans in the ‘Teens and Twenties, fueling both deep corruption and a powerful anti-imperialism.

By Rosalie Schwartz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Pleasure Island as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Pleasure Island explores the tourism industry in Cuba between 1920 and 1960, as international travel ceased to be primarily a privilege of the wealthy, incorporating the world's growing middle class. Rosalie Schwartz examines tourists' changing ideas of leisure and recreation, as well as the response of a colonial-era Spanish city turned fleshpot and endless cabaret. The tourism industry mushroomed in and around Havana after 1920, as hundreds of thousands of North Americans transformed the city in collaboration with a local business and political elite. The Depression, exacerbated by a bloody revolution in 1933, plunged the tourism industry into a downward…


Book cover of Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life

Judy Juanita Author Of De Facto Feminism: Essays Straight Outta Oakland

From my list on how rebels kept up the good fight.

Why am I passionate about this?

I read bios and memoirs because I need to know what really happened. I read several bios of the same person; then piece together a sense of the truth. As a journalist, I understand that all of a person’s life won’t make it into the final story. Editors have a mission of their own; books are molded by exigent demands and social mores. That’s why The Autobiography of Malcolm X in 1965 had one view of its subject, and Manning Marable’s bio in 2011 another. I’ve read both and other accounts to formulate my own ideas about the man and his times.

Judy's book list on how rebels kept up the good fight

Judy Juanita Why did Judy love this book?

I love it as a tale of heroism, youthful idealism, success, defeat, death over and over. I first read the final chapter of this book in an excerpt after which I ordered it immediately. I had been curious about the real story behind this highly intelligent icon. Disturbing and illuminating, this book shows how driven, outright murderous in the name of revolution, Che was and how this catapulted Fidel and the Cuban revolutionaries to victory over Fulgencio Batista. I had such empathy for Che as I read through his life that I couldn’t reread the final chapter about his brutal prolonged death.

By Jon Lee Anderson,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Che Guevara as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Che Guevara's legend is unmatched in the modern world. Since his assassination in 1967 at the age of 39, the Argentine revolutionary has become an internationally famed icon, as revered as he is controversial. A Marxist ideologue, he sought to end global inequality by bringing down the American capitalist empire through armed guerrilla warfare - and has few rivals in the Cold War era as an apostle of change.

In Che: A Revolutionary Life, Jon Lee Anderson and Jose Hernandez reveal the man behind the myth, creating a complex portrait of this passionate idealist. Adapted from Anderson's masterwork, Che transports…


Book cover of Fidel: A Critical Portrait

John Thorndike Author Of A Hundred Fires in Cuba

From my list on Cuba, the Revolution, and Cuban exiles.

Why am I passionate about this?

Over fifty years ago I joined the Peace Corps in El Salvador. I married a Salvadoran woman, and our child was born during our two-year stay on a backcountry farm in Chile. My interest in Latin America has never faded—and in my latest novel, The World Against Her Skin, which is based on my mother’s life, I give her a pair of years in the Peace Corps. But it is Cuba that remains the most fascinating of all the countries south of our border, and of course I had to write about the giant turn it took in 1959, and the men and women who spurred that revolution.

John's book list on Cuba, the Revolution, and Cuban exiles

John Thorndike Why did John love this book?

It was here that I first discovered Camilo Cienfuegos—whom I write about in my book. Camilo was the last of 82 men to board a small yacht, the Granma, which sailed, in November of 1956, from Tuxpan, Mexico to the south shore of Cuba. Fifteen men survived the landing and made their way up into the Sierra Maestra to start the Revolution. This is one of the hemisphere’s most remarkable stories, and Szulc’s book remains the definitive work on Fidel Castro and his campaign to unseat Fulgencio Batista.

By Tad Szulc,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fidel as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The outcome of a long, direct relationship, this riveting portrait reveals astonishing and exclusive information about Cuba, the revolution, and the notorious, larger-than-life leader who has ruled his country with an iron fist for more than forty years. Only Tad Szulc could bring Fidel to such vivid life--the loves and losses of the man, the devious tactics of the conspirator, the triumphs and defeats of the revolutionary leader who challenged an American president and brought the world to the brink of nuclear disaster. From Jesuit schools to jungle hideouts and the Palace of the Revolution, here is FIDEL...THE UNTOLD STORY.


Book cover of One Day in December: Celia Sánchez and the Cuban Revolution

John Thorndike Author Of A Hundred Fires in Cuba

From my list on Cuba, the Revolution, and Cuban exiles.

Why am I passionate about this?

Over fifty years ago I joined the Peace Corps in El Salvador. I married a Salvadoran woman, and our child was born during our two-year stay on a backcountry farm in Chile. My interest in Latin America has never faded—and in my latest novel, The World Against Her Skin, which is based on my mother’s life, I give her a pair of years in the Peace Corps. But it is Cuba that remains the most fascinating of all the countries south of our border, and of course I had to write about the giant turn it took in 1959, and the men and women who spurred that revolution.

John's book list on Cuba, the Revolution, and Cuban exiles

John Thorndike Why did John love this book?

Stout gives us, in remarkable detail, the life of a woman deeply involved with the Cuban Revolution. Just how deeply came as a revelation to me. No book, I believe, in either Spanish or English, has told us a tenth as much about Celia Sanchez. Celia was Fidel’s partner through all the early days of the movement. I was swept along by the clear prose, the dynamic character of Celia Sanchez, and a thousand stories I’d never heard before. The Cuban Revolution, like many others, has been mythologized, and here is the perfect antidote: the story of a determined woman operating at the very heart of the Revolution.

By Nancy Stout,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked One Day in December as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Celia Sánchez is the missing actor of the Cuban Revolution. Although not as well known in the English-speaking world as Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, Sánchez played a pivotal role in launching the revolution and administering the revolutionary state. She joined the clandestine 26th of July Movement and went on to choose the landing site of the Granma and fight with the rebels in the Sierra Maestra. She collected the documents that would form the official archives of the revolution, and, after its victory, launched numerous projects that enriched the lives of many Cubans, from parks to literacy programs to…


Book cover of Back Channel to Cuba: The Hidden History of Negotiations between Washington and Havana

Van Gosse Author Of Where the Boys Are: Cuba, Cold War and the Making of a New Left

From my list on Cuba and the United States.

Why am I passionate about this?

Van Gosse, Professor of History at Franklin & Marshall College, is the author of Where the Boys Are: Cuba, Cold War America, and the Making of a New Left, published in 1993 and still in print, a classic account of how "Yankees" engaged with the Cuban Revolution in its early years. Since then he has published widely on solidarity with Latin America and the New Left; for the past ten years he has also taught a popular course, "Cuba and the United States: The Closest of Strangers."

Van's book list on Cuba and the United States

Van Gosse Why did Van love this book?

Utterly engrossing, this behind-the-scenes narrative over many decades demonstrates that the Cuban diplomats were almost always willing to move towards normalizing relations, but were repeatedly stymied by non-negotiable demands from the U.S. side. Besides that, it’s full of piquant details, involving the many non-official actors and secret meetings in New York, on the island, or in other countries. Diplomatic history rarely gets this exciting!

By William M. LeoGrande, Peter Kornbluh,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Back Channel to Cuba as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Challenging the conventional wisdom of perpetual hostility between the United States and Cuba--beyond invasions, covert operations, assassination plots using poison pens and exploding seashells, and a grinding economic embargo--this fascinating book chronicles a surprising, untold history of bilateral efforts toward rapprochement and reconciliation. Since 1959, conflict and aggression have dominated the story of U.S.-Cuban relations. Now, William M. LeoGrande and Peter Kornbluh present a new and increasingly more relevant account. From John F. Kennedy's offering of an olive branch to Fidel Castro after the missile crisis, to Henry Kissinger's top secret quest for normalization, to Barack Obama's promise of a…


Book cover of The Soviet Cuban Missile Crisis: Castro, Mikoyan, Kennedy, Khrushchev, and the Missiles of November

Sheldon M. Stern Author Of The Week the World Stood Still: Inside the Secret Cuban Missile Crisis

From my list on Cuban Missile Crisis.

Why am I passionate about this?

In early 1981, the JFK Library began the process of declassifying the Cuban missile crisis ExComm tapes; as the Library’s Historian, the responsibility for reviewing these recordings was mine—and it changed my life. I spent most of the next two years listening to the tapes from the legendary 13 Days (and subsequently from the November “post-crisis”). I was the first non-ExComm participant and professional historian to hear and evaluate these unique and definitive historical recordings. After the tapes were declassified in the late 1990s, I wrote three books (published by Stanford University Press) about their historical importance.

Sheldon's book list on Cuban Missile Crisis

Sheldon M. Stern Why did Sheldon love this book?

The books discussed above concentrate on the missile crisis in the US, but there was also a crisis in Moscow and Havana. Americans called this event “the Cuban missile crisis,” the Soviets called it “the Caribbean Crisis,” and the Cubans “the October crisis”—because conflict with the US had become a recurring fact of life in Cuba. The Kennedy administration had also been sponsoring sabotage and political assassination in Cuba kept secret from the American people but well known to the Russians and the Cubans. The Soviet Cuban Missile Crisis opens a window into Castro’s fury at not being informed or consulted about the secret October 27 Kennedy-Khrushchev deal to remove the missiles from both Cuba and Turkey; only the masterful November diplomacy by Khrushchev’s personal envoy in Cuba, Anastas Mikoyan, kept the deal on track. 

By Sergo Mikoyan, Svetlana Savranskaya (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Soviet Cuban Missile Crisis as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Based on secret transcripts of top-level diplomacy undertaken by the number-two Soviet leader, Anastas Mikoyan, to settle the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, this book rewrites conventional history. The "missiles of October" and "13 days" were only half the story: the nuclear crisis actually stretched well into November 1962 as the Soviets secretly planned to leave behind in Cuba over 100 tactical nuclear weapons, then reversed themselves because of obstreperous behavior by Fidel Castro. The highly-charged negotiations with the Cuban leadership, who bitterly felt sold out by Soviet concessions to the United States, were led by Mikoyan.

Adding personal crisis,…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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