Fidel Castro: My Life: A Spoken Autobiography

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Fidel Castro is perhaps the most charismatic and controversial head of state in modern times. A dictatorial pariah to some, he has become a hero and inspiration for many of the world's poor, defiantly charting an independent and revolutionary path for Cuba over nearly half a century.

Numerous attempts have been made to get Castro to tell his own story. But only now, in the twilight of his years, has he been prepared to set out the details of his remarkable biography for the world to read. This book is nothing less than his living testament. As he told reporters, his desire to finish checking its text was the one thing that kept him going through his recent illness. He presented a copy of the book in its Spanish edition to his compadre President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela.

In these pages, Castro narrates a compelling chronicle that spans the harshness of his elementary school teachers; the early failures of the revolution; his intense comradeship with Che Guevara and their astonishing, against-all-odds victory over the dictator Batista; the Cuban perspective on the Bay of Pigs and the ensuing missile crisis; the active role of Cuba in African independence movements (especially its large military involvement in fighting apartheid South Africa in Angola); his relations with prominent public figures such as Boris Yeltsin, Pope John Paul II, and Saddam Hussein; and his dealings with no less than ten successive American presidents, from Eisenhower to George W. Bush.

Castro talks proudly of increasing life expectancy in Cuba (now longer than in the United States); of the half million students in Cuban universities; and of the training of seventy thousand Cuban doctors nearly half of whom work abroad, assisting the poor in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. He is confronted with a number of thorny issues, including democracy and human rights, discrimination toward homosexuals, and the continuing presence of the death penalty on Cuban statute books. Along the way he shares intimacies about more personal matters: the benevolent strictness of his father, his successful attempt to give up cigars, his love of Ernest Hemingway's novels, and his calculation that by not shaving he saves up to ten working days each year.

Drawing on more than one hundred hours of interviews with Ignacio Ramonet, a knowledgeable and trusted interlocutor, this spoken autobiography will stand as the definitive record of an extraordinary life lived in turbulent times.
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About the author

IGNACIO RAMONETis editor of Le Monde diplomatique. He is the author of Wars of the 21st Century and Geopolitics of Chaos, the founder of Media Watch Global, and a regular contributor to the Spanish daily El País.

FIDEL CASTRO has led Cuba since the revolution of 1959.

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Simon and Schuster
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Published on
Mar 11, 2008
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Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs
Political Science / International Relations / General
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This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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In this profoundly affecting memoir from the internationally renowned author of The Caged Virgin and Nomad, Ayaan Hirsi Ali tells her astonishing life story, from her traditional Muslim childhood in Somalia, Saudi Arabia, and Kenya, to her intellectual awakening and activism in the Netherlands, and her current life under armed guard in the West.

One of today's most admired and controversial political figures, Ayaan Hirsi Ali burst into international headlines following an Islamist's murder of her colleague, Theo van Gogh, with whom she made the movie Submission.

Infidel is the eagerly awaited story of the coming of age of this elegant, distinguished -- and sometimes reviled -- political superstar and champion of free speech. With a gimlet eye and measured, often ironic, voice, Hirsi Ali recounts the evolution of her beliefs, her ironclad will, and her extraordinary resolve to fight injustice done in the name of religion. Raised in a strict Muslim family and extended clan, Hirsi Ali survived civil war, female mutilation, brutal beatings, adolescence as a devout believer during the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, and life in four troubled, unstable countries largely ruled by despots. In her early twenties, she escaped from a forced marriage and sought asylum in the Netherlands, where she earned a college degree in political science, tried to help her tragically depressed sister adjust to the West, and fought for the rights of Muslim immigrant women and the reform of Islam as a member of Parliament. Even though she is under constant threat -- demonized by reactionary Islamists and politicians, disowned by her father, and expelled from her family and clan -- she refuses to be silenced.

Ultimately a celebration of triumph over adversity, Hirsi Ali's story tells how a bright little girl evolved out of dutiful obedience to become an outspoken, pioneering freedom fighter. As Western governments struggle to balance democratic ideals with religious pressures, no story could be timelier or more significant.
Book Description In 1922, just four years after the war to end all wars, an unknown Austrian then living in Bavaria planned a pamphlet to be called Settling Accounts. In it he intended to attack the ineffectiveness of the dominant political parties in Germany which were opposed to the new National Socialists (Nazis). In November 1923, Adolf Hitler was jailed for the abortive Munich Beer Hall putsch along with men willing and able to assist him with his writing. With the help of these collaborators, chief among them Rudolf Hess, the pamphlet became a book. Settling Accounts became Mein Kampf, an unparalleled example of muddled economics and history, appalling bigotry, and an intense self-glorification of Adolf Hitler as the true founder and builder of the National Socialist movement. It was written in hate and it contained a blueprint for violent bloodshed. When Mein Kampf was published in 1925, it was a failure. In 1926 a second volume appeared - it was no more successful than the first. People either laughed at it or ignored it. They were wrong to do so. As Hitler's power increased, pressure was put on all party members to buy the book. Gradually this pressure was extended to all elements of the German population. Soon Mein Kampf was even being passed out to newlywed couples as a gift. Ironically, and frighteningly, by the time Hitler came to power on January 30, 1933, what has been considered by many to be the most satanic book ever written was running neck and neck with the Bible at the top of the German bestseller lists. In his excellent introduction to this definitive American translation of Mein Kampf, Konrad Heiden writes: "For years Mein Kampf stood as proof of the blindness and complacency of the world. For in its pages Hitler announced -- long before he came to power -- a program of blood and terror in a self-revelation of such overwhelming frankness that few among its readers had the courage to believe it ... That such a man could go so far toward realizing his ambitions, and -- above all -- could find millions of willing tools and helpers; that is a phenomenon the world will ponder for centuries to come." We would be wrong in thinking that such a program, such a man, and such appalling consequences could not reappear in our world of the present. We cannot permit our selves the luxury of forgetting the tragedy of World War II or the man who, more than any other, fostered it. Mein Kampf must be read and constantly remembered as a specimen of evil demagoguery that people whenever men grow tired of thinking and acting for themselves. Mein Kampf is a blueprint for the age of chaos. It transcends in historical importance any other book of the present generation. In his translation Ralph Manheim has taken particular care to give an exact English equivalent of Hitler's highly individual, and often awkward style, including his occasional grammatical errors. We believe this book should stand as the complete, final, and definitive English version of Hitler's own story of his life, his political philosophy, and his thwarted plans for world domination. Translated by Ralph Manheim with an introduction by Konrad Heiden. A compilation of Hitler's most famous prison writings of 1923--the bible of National Socialism and the blueprint for the Third Reich.
Testimonio excepcional y análisis histórico, este libro es una auténtica «biografía a dos voces»: la memoria oral del comandante, el polémico Fidel Castro, el último «monstruo sagrado» de la política internacional.

Tras la larga convalecencia sufrida en 2006, Fidel Castro revisó y amplió el exhaustivo trabajo de investigación y entrevistas que Ignacio Ramonet había publicado ese mismo año. Sin duda, el presente libro responde a preguntas imprescindibles para entender la historia reciente de Cuba y completa de forma definitiva aquella obra.

¿Cómo eran los padres de Castro? ¿Dónde y cuándo se forjó el rebelde? ¿Cómo fue su relación con el Che? ¿Estuvo el mundo al borde de una guerra nuclear durante la llamada «Crisis de los misiles»? ¿Qué impresión le causó el papa Juan Pablo II cuando visitó la isla en 1998? ¿Qué piensa de la globalización neoliberal y de George W. Bush? ¿Del rey Juan Carlos y los presidentes españoles? ¿De Hugo Chávez y Evo Morales? ¿Existe corrupción en el régimen? ¿Qué ocurrirá con Cuba en el futuro próximo?

Fidel Castro. Biografía a dos voces traza un recorrido por la controvertida figura del líder cubano, proporcionando un relato apasionante sobre el pasado, el presente y el porvenir de la Revolución, y se constituye como la memoria oral de uno de los hombres que definieron el siglo XX.

«En bien pocas ocasiones la inteligencia de la especie humana aparece condensada en un libro dibujando la senda por donde esa especie podría transitar.»
Belén Gopegui

Dênis de Moraes, Ignacio Ramonet e Pascual Serrano assinam a seis mãos os ensaios que integram o livro Mídia, poder e contrapoder: da concentração monopólica à democratização da informação, a ser lançado pela Boitempo Editorial. Organizada por Moraes, a obra reúne seis textos que fazem uma reflexão crítica sobre o poder mundial da mídia, a cultura tecnológica, a comunicação globalizada, o jornalismo contra-hegemônico em rede, as políticas públicas de direito à comunicação e a democratização da informação na América Latina. A partir da convergência de afinidades dos jornalistas na análise sobre o complexo mundo da mídia e nas preocupações com o fluxo informacional do nosso cotidiano - após um debate do qual participaram juntos no Rio de Janeiro no final de 2011 -, surgiu para Moraes a ideia de um livro a três. "O ponto de partida de Mídia, poder e contrapoder é o compromisso comum de interpelar a contemporaneidade, cada vez mais midiatizada, tecnologizada e mercantilizada", explica o organizador na introdução. O momento histórico para Moraes é perturbador, permeado pelos fascínios compulsivos por objetos digitais que se conectam instantaneamente a "nuvens de computação" capazes de armazenar volume imensurável de informações. No entanto, em contraposição a esse quadro, o livro desenvolve reflexões que incorporam a dimensão da esperança, projetando‐a como elemento essencial nas disputas de sentido frente aos enfoques tendenciosos das máquinas midiáticas.
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