Analyzing the crucial period of the Cuban Revolution from 1959 to
1961, Samuel Farber challenges dominant scholarly and popular views
of the revolution's sources, shape, and historical trajectory.
Unlike many observers, who treat Cuba's revolutionary leaders as
having merely reacted to U.S. policies or domestic socioeconomic
conditions, Farber shows that revolutionary leaders, while acting
under serious constraints, were nevertheless autonomous agents
pursuing their own independent ideological visions, although not
necessarily according to a master plan.
Exploring how historical conflicts between U.S. and Cuban interests
colored the reactions of both nations' leaders after the overthrow
of Fulgencio Batista, Farber argues that the structure of Cuba's
economy and politics in the first half of the twentieth century
made the island ripe for radical social and economic change, and
the ascendant Soviet Union was on hand to provide early assistance.
Taking advantage of recently declassified U.S. and Soviet documents
as well as biographical and narrative literature from Cuba, Farber
focuses on three key years to explain how the Cuban rebellion
rapidly evolved from a multiclass, antidictatorial movement into a
full-fledged social revolution.