cover image Fidel: A Critical Portrait

Fidel: A Critical Portrait

Tad Szulc. William Morrow & Company, $0 (703pp) ISBN 978-0-688-04645-3

With Castro's cooperation (which included many hours of taped conversation), interviews with scores of his friends and associates, and access to Cuban archives, this former New York Times foreign correspondent has produced the first major biography of one of the most puzzling and little-known world leaders of our day. Material includes an analysis of Castro's relationship with the Cuban Communist Party before the revolution, details on the CIA's initial support and later assassination attempts, and convincing suggestions on how the Bay of Pigs affair led directly to the Cuban missile crisis. The author characterizes the Cuban revolution of the 1960s as ""to a very large degree the story of Fidel Castro's and John Kennedy's impact on each other.'' Szulc's admiration for the Cuban leader is vast: Castro is ``a virtuoso of politics'' and ``a master of strategy and tactics as well as a master of timing.'' So rich is the material Szulc marshalls in his support that readers less enamored of Castro will find it hard to deny these and other sweeping statements. Photos. 100,000 first printing. (November 17)