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After Fidel: Raul Castro and the Future of Cuba's Revolution

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This is a compelling behind-the-scenes account of the extraordinary Castro brothers and the impending dynastic succession of Fidel's younger brother Raul. Brian Latell, the CIA analyst who has followed Castro since the sixties, gives an unprecedented view into Fidel and Raul's remarkable relationship, revealing how they have collaborated in policy making, divided responsib This is a compelling behind-the-scenes account of the extraordinary Castro brothers and the impending dynastic succession of Fidel's younger brother Raul. Brian Latell, the CIA analyst who has followed Castro since the sixties, gives an unprecedented view into Fidel and Raul's remarkable relationship, revealing how they have collaborated in policy making, divided responsibilities, and resolved disagreements for more than forty years--a challenge to the notion that Fidel always acts alone. Latell has had more access to the brothers than anyone else in this country, and his briefs to the CIA informed much of U.S. policy. Based on his knowledge of Raul Castro, Latell makes projections on what kind of leader Raul would be and how the shift in power might influence U.S.-Cuban relations.


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This is a compelling behind-the-scenes account of the extraordinary Castro brothers and the impending dynastic succession of Fidel's younger brother Raul. Brian Latell, the CIA analyst who has followed Castro since the sixties, gives an unprecedented view into Fidel and Raul's remarkable relationship, revealing how they have collaborated in policy making, divided responsib This is a compelling behind-the-scenes account of the extraordinary Castro brothers and the impending dynastic succession of Fidel's younger brother Raul. Brian Latell, the CIA analyst who has followed Castro since the sixties, gives an unprecedented view into Fidel and Raul's remarkable relationship, revealing how they have collaborated in policy making, divided responsibilities, and resolved disagreements for more than forty years--a challenge to the notion that Fidel always acts alone. Latell has had more access to the brothers than anyone else in this country, and his briefs to the CIA informed much of U.S. policy. Based on his knowledge of Raul Castro, Latell makes projections on what kind of leader Raul would be and how the shift in power might influence U.S.-Cuban relations.

30 review for After Fidel: Raul Castro and the Future of Cuba's Revolution

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lyn

    I have always been fascinated with Latin America and have been to some places, including Guantanimo Bay in Cuba. The decades long embargo is silly, the way to beat this revolution is to spend money. A few T-shirt stands on the beach, some tourist attractions earning a nice profit and the revolution won't seem so attractive. In my lifetime I want to see an MLB game in Havanna. This provides an excellent look at the Castros and their history as well as an illustration of Cuba then and now. I have always been fascinated with Latin America and have been to some places, including Guantanimo Bay in Cuba. The decades long embargo is silly, the way to beat this revolution is to spend money. A few T-shirt stands on the beach, some tourist attractions earning a nice profit and the revolution won't seem so attractive. In my lifetime I want to see an MLB game in Havanna. This provides an excellent look at the Castros and their history as well as an illustration of Cuba then and now.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Louise

    This is a well written bio. No histronics, no preaching, no selling of a viewpoint. The author is a former CIA officer and current teacher of the Cuban Revolution at Columbia U. He credits his sources by name, noting each person's relation to the events, which is welcome for the layman. While the title implies that the book is about "After Fidel", this topic comprises less than 1/4 of the text. While to predict the future, you need to know the past, the subtitle works better. Latell defines how C This is a well written bio. No histronics, no preaching, no selling of a viewpoint. The author is a former CIA officer and current teacher of the Cuban Revolution at Columbia U. He credits his sources by name, noting each person's relation to the events, which is welcome for the layman. While the title implies that the book is about "After Fidel", this topic comprises less than 1/4 of the text. While to predict the future, you need to know the past, the subtitle works better. Latell defines how Castro, through extraordinary intellect, a sensitivity to competition and a lack of moral restraint was able to take over a small island country and make it his fiefdom. He was a svengali to his brother, Raul, who's unacknowledged skills were necessary to Fidel's rise and continued dominance. Raul, like the rest of Cuba, is compelled for pyschological and practical reasons to cater to Fidel's paranoia. Raul ascends to head the military by demonstrating his loyalty through leading ruthless prosecutions including that of a good friend and confidant... a popular and successful general... who's crime was to "dis" Fidel in a private conversation. Unlike Fidel, Raul has a modicum of conscience regarding this particular execution. Raul had been known to have shown some humanity at least once before, in visiting his father while the revolution expropriated the family homestead. Raul is not seen in public and the author says he's an alcoholic. If Fidel were to die today, w/could the 75 year old Raul be the Deng Xiaoping of Cuba? The situation of Lina (Castro's mother) and her children (Fidel, Raul + 5 others) living in a shack while Angel (father) and his legal wife live in the comfortable "big house" is reminiscent of a pre-Civil War US plantation. Eventually the children are recognized by their father but, I presume, the psychological damage had been done. Latell gives details of some things of which I was only vaguely aware. One was Casto's early obsession with "liberating" Puerto Rico. Another was the group of "non-aligned" nations, which through design Castro leads. Fidel and the entire organization are later sidelined by his necessary statement of alignment with the Soviet Union when it invaded Afghanistan. There are insights on the workings of international information systems. I didn't know that the lack of coordination of the FBI and CIA was that FBI cases lead to criminal trials and CIA material, witnesses, etc. must be confidential. A Cuban mole, now in prison, provides information to Fidel, and disinformation to us, for 8 years. An anecdote about a mango tree illustrates, not only Fidel's inability to deal with criticism, but also how international information systems keep tabs on each other. While there is little text on the eventual succession, I recommend this highly readable bio. I don't know how it measures up to the many other Fidel bios, but the author has an interesting and clear style. He is precise in his language and labels what is known and what is speculative.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Paul C. Stalder

    An interesting story bogged down by the author's style, or lack thereof. Given Latell has years of experience with Cuba, and the Castro family, I was looking for more commentary and less repetition of facts. The book seemed like it could be written by any individual with a decent research team. Latell expertise offered little to enhance his overall narrative. I expected much more from this effort. An interesting story bogged down by the author's style, or lack thereof. Given Latell has years of experience with Cuba, and the Castro family, I was looking for more commentary and less repetition of facts. The book seemed like it could be written by any individual with a decent research team. Latell expertise offered little to enhance his overall narrative. I expected much more from this effort.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    "After Fidel" was written by a former CIA agent, reading as a personal account to his time on the case of Castro. It is an easy read, not bogged down with raw data. It offers the reader an interesting look at how Fidel and his siblings were raised, suggesting which particular parts of his character are more attributed to nurture versus nature. If you are looking for a "start to near-finish" about Fidel and "his Cuba", it is a great book for getting your feet wet. "After Fidel" was written by a former CIA agent, reading as a personal account to his time on the case of Castro. It is an easy read, not bogged down with raw data. It offers the reader an interesting look at how Fidel and his siblings were raised, suggesting which particular parts of his character are more attributed to nurture versus nature. If you are looking for a "start to near-finish" about Fidel and "his Cuba", it is a great book for getting your feet wet.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    Title is misleading bc it was more about the Castro brothers growing up and during the revolution. The only part that talks about life after Fidel is like the last chapter and the afterward. It goes back and forth a bit but over all quite interesting. I had no idea about a lot of what i read in the book.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Emma Diercks

    So very interesting. This book really delved into the lives of Fidel and Raul Castro and talked a bit about how the regime affected the Cuban people and their economy.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mark Nenadov

    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, 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 var 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, 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”.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Thom

    Written by a former CIA analyst, this book has a misleading title. It is really about the Castro brothers from childhood to when the the book was written. It's at least as much about Fidel as it is about Raul. The author uses a term, internationalism, as if it is an evil philosophy of Castro's and could have used more explanation. Not a gripping read, but nevertheless very informative about the history of Cuba, and much more than I ever read about in the current media. Was glad I read it, but no Written by a former CIA analyst, this book has a misleading title. It is really about the Castro brothers from childhood to when the the book was written. It's at least as much about Fidel as it is about Raul. The author uses a term, internationalism, as if it is an evil philosophy of Castro's and could have used more explanation. Not a gripping read, but nevertheless very informative about the history of Cuba, and much more than I ever read about in the current media. Was glad I read it, but not exactly a page-turner. The strengths and weaknesses of Fidel are objectively described and contrasted with brother Raul. Raul seems to be much more of a flexible, evolving, less predictable character. Fidel has committed to his public persona and apparently will never waver from it. A fascinating, unique, historic pair of brothers. And it leaves you wondering, what WILL happen after Fidel and Raul?

  9. 4 out of 5

    Cynthia

    I had to read this book for Modern Latin American History and I was very interested to read about the thoughts and perspectives that Latell had on how Cuba would turn out under the direction of Raul Castro. The book fell flat on its face and did not live up to the title. Rather than focusing on Raul, Latell focused primarily on Fidel and and everything that Fidel had done, and every once in a while, Latell would mention Raul. It was not what I was expecting and the title is extremely misleading. I had to read this book for Modern Latin American History and I was very interested to read about the thoughts and perspectives that Latell had on how Cuba would turn out under the direction of Raul Castro. The book fell flat on its face and did not live up to the title. Rather than focusing on Raul, Latell focused primarily on Fidel and and everything that Fidel had done, and every once in a while, Latell would mention Raul. It was not what I was expecting and the title is extremely misleading. The book is not about Raul Castro at all, it is about Fidel.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Brendan

    This story is really fantastic. First it recounts the revolution (which involved sneaking over in basically a water skiing boat) and recounts what happened in Cuba and who what will happen next. The author is one of those insanity-types who has spent too much time on his own work. There is a hilarious part at the end where he gives examples of times where he made speeches on behalf of the National Intelligence office and then had Castro talk back to him via radio address in other speeches.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ben

    A great primer for those who haven't read any books about Castro or Cuba from 1950 to present. The title is a little misleading, as the book only begins to speculate on Cuba's future after Fidel in the last 30 pages of this slim volume. But I felt like I got to know Fidel, Raul, and our dysfunctional relationship with Cuba much better in the lead-up. A great primer for those who haven't read any books about Castro or Cuba from 1950 to present. The title is a little misleading, as the book only begins to speculate on Cuba's future after Fidel in the last 30 pages of this slim volume. But I felt like I got to know Fidel, Raul, and our dysfunctional relationship with Cuba much better in the lead-up.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Don

    The title may or may not be a misnomer. The book is mostly a dual biography of Fidel and Raoul, not so much about Cuba's future--but then again Raoul is Cuba's future. The book dispels my previous assumption that anybody would be better than Fidel--but maybe not--Raoul is the harder-core communist and the more practiced killer. What a family The title may or may not be a misnomer. The book is mostly a dual biography of Fidel and Raoul, not so much about Cuba's future--but then again Raoul is Cuba's future. The book dispels my previous assumption that anybody would be better than Fidel--but maybe not--Raoul is the harder-core communist and the more practiced killer. What a family

  13. 4 out of 5

    Al Lock

    Very interesting book about Fidel Castro, Raul Castro and the evolution of how Cuba was conquered in revolution and how Cuba had to change after the fall of the Soviet Union and how that impacts Cuba today with Raul in charge. Written before Fidel passed away, it is striking that the book reflects very well what actually happened .

  14. 4 out of 5

    Richard

    Some good insider information and observations . . . Mr. Latell may need some instruction on the translation of "Son of a bitch" from Spanish to English, and it's uses in everyday arguments, including relatives. Some good insider information and observations . . . Mr. Latell may need some instruction on the translation of "Son of a bitch" from Spanish to English, and it's uses in everyday arguments, including relatives.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Zach

    Provides an interesting analysis of not only Fidel, but also his brother Raul. The book states that while Fidel is the dramatic speaker/visionary, it is Raul who is the true idealogue and more pragmatic planner.

  16. 5 out of 5

    James Johnson

    From the details in this biography, I found myself constantly thinking of Fidel as a person with a mental illness.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Johnsergeant

    Just bought from Audible.com

  18. 4 out of 5

    Nicko

    In-depth biography of everything Fidel. Really in-depth, good for anyone to really fill out their knowledge of this oft misunderstood historic figure.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Morgan Stell

    Somehow simultaneously fascinating and boring. I didn't know much about Fidel or his brother, but I know a lot more now. While most of it is interesting, it is dry facts like many biographies. Somehow simultaneously fascinating and boring. I didn't know much about Fidel or his brother, but I know a lot more now. While most of it is interesting, it is dry facts like many biographies.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    Pending.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Donald Elton

    Very good history and analysis.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Iglesias

  23. 4 out of 5

    Adam

  24. 4 out of 5

    Robyn Crosby

  25. 5 out of 5

    Josh Batchelder

  26. 4 out of 5

    Rich Lichtenfelt

  27. 5 out of 5

    Doug Seaman

  28. 4 out of 5

    Michal Wigal

    Good source of info on Fidel and Raul although I sometimes questions the authors objectivity.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Matt Bono

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kathy Loden

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