Perhaps the foremost social analyst and journalist on Cuban affairs, Carlos Alberto Montaner has written a definitive study of the Cuban regime from the vantage point of the Cuban dictator. This is not simply a history of Cuban communism but rather a personal history of its leader, Fidel Castro. Montaner's extraordinary knowledge of the country and its politics prevents the work from becoming a psychiatric examination from afar. Indeed, what personal irrationalities exist are seen as built into the fabric of the regime itself, and not simply as a personality aberration.
Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution is not an apologia for past United States involvement in Cuban affairs. The author is severe in his judgments of such participation. Nor is he sparing in his sense of the betrayal of the original purposes of the Revolution of 1959 manifested in the character and policies of Fidel Castro. As the work progresses from a study of the victims to a study of the beneficiaries of the Cuban Revolution, it leaves the reader with a deep sense of the tragedy of a revolution betrayed, but not one that could have easily been avoided.
Montaner is an exile like the great Alexander Herzen before him. His decision to live in Europe was made by choice, not of necessity. He sees his role as critical analyst, not as restoring the status quo ante. A most valuable aspect of this book is its intimate reevaluation of Fulgencio Batista. Whatever the reader's judgment of Montaner's work, no one can read it and be dismissive of the effort. It is a work of intimacy even through written in exile--and hence must be viewed as an important effort to understand the character of the man and regime who have changed the course of Cuban history in our times.