Jonathan M. Hansen at Harvard Book Store

Thursday, June 20, 2019 7:00pm

Harvard Book Store welcomes author and senior lecturer at Harvard University JONATHAN M. HANSEN for a discussion of his latest book, Young Castro: The Making of a Revolutionary. He will be joined in conversation by the former Chargé d’Affaires ad interim at the U.S. Embassy in Havana, AMBASSADOR JEFFREY DELAURENTIS.

About Young Castro

This book will change how you think about Fidel Castro. Until now, biographers have treated Castro’s life like prosecutors, scouring his past for evidence to convict a person they don’t like or don’t understand. This can make for bad history and unsatisfying biography. Young Castro challenges readers to put aside the caricature of a bearded, cigar-munching, anti-American hot head to discover how Castro became the dictator who acted as a thorn in the side of US presidents for nearly half a century.

The first American historian in a generation to gain access to the Castro archives in Havana, Jonathan Hansen was able to secure cooperation from Castro’s family and closest confidants, gaining access to hundreds of never-before-seen letters and to interviews with people he was the first to ask for their impressions of the man. The result is a nuanced and penetrating portrait of a figure who was determined to be a leader—a man at once brilliant, arrogant, bold, vulnerable and all too human. A man who, having grown up on an island that felt like a colonial cage, was compelled to lead his country to independence.

Praise for Young Castro

“A nuanced portrait of a complex young man. . . Hansen fills out personal details and adds new layers of complexity to a life whose narrative has often been shaped and manipulated to serve the purposes of the Cuban Revolution.” —ReVista, the Harvard Review of Latin America

“An engaging, astute character study. A welcome addition to the literature of Castro and Cuba.” —Kirkus Reviews

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