DIARY OF THE CUBAN REVOLUTION by Carlos Franqui

DIARY OF THE CUBAN REVOLUTION

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

As propaganda director of Castro's guerrilla movement and official archivist of the Cuban Revolution, Franqui had access to a great deal of documentary material, including letters and interviews, in addition to his own diaries. Here, he has formed that material into a diary of the revolution, 1953-59, rather than a revolutionary's diary. His motivation, he says, was to establish a true record in the face of official historical rewriting; but though he left Cuba in 1968 (why, is unexplained), his composite diary turns out to be flattering too. While a lot of ink is spent on the details of guerrilla activity (listings of supplies received or needed, recapitulations of battles won and lost), Castro--and his strength of will--predominate. Writing from prison, Fidel tells of his admiration for Napoleon, who created his own opportunity, and also runs through his prodigious reading: Dostoevsky, Balzac, Hugo, Marx, Freud, and even Kant's Critique of Pure Reason in the course of two weeks. The intensity lavished in prison on books or on cooking (Fidel is especially proud of his cell-made spaghetti sauces) is turned to military and organizational matters in the mountains. The other figures represented, including Che Guevara and Franqui himself, pale next to Castro, who sets out to prove that what matters is not who has the most arms, but who is right. The contours will be familiar to readers of Hugh Thomas, but this ""diary"" conveys both the tedium and the thrill of living through events on a daily basis. A unique view which, by the way, lays to rest the contention that the Cuban Revolution was anything other than an indigenous event, albeit of global significance.

Pub Date: June 18th, 1980
Publisher: Viking