Ten Days in Harlem: Fidel Castro and the Making of the 1960s

Simon Hall. Faber & Faber, $24.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-571-35306-4
University of Leeds historian Hall (1956: The World in Revolt) delivers a wide-ranging exploration of the 10 days that Cuban leader Fidel Castro spent in New York for the opening session of the 15th UN General Assembly in September 1960. Castro’s trip, Hall contends, “proved to be both a turning point in the history of the Cold War and a foundational moment in the creation of what we think of as ‘the Sixties.’ ” Hall vividly profiles Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev, civil rights activist Malcolm X, Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser, Indian prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, and Ghanaian head-of-state Kwame Nkrumah, among other world leaders who met with Castro, and describes the young revolutionary holding court at Harlem’s Hotel Theresa. Castro’s four-and-a-half-hour speech to the General Assembly (“still a UN record,” Hall notes) railing against imperialism and American empire was dismissed by his enemies as a “tirade,” but he returned to Cuba with a solid reputation as a hero for oppressed people around the world. Hall’s informative, page-turning account captures the cultural and political tumult of the era, and the fervent idealism that made Castro a revolutionary icon. Political history buffs will want to take a look. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 06/09/2020
Release date: 09/01/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
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