THE FISH IS RED: The Story of the Secret War Against Castro by Warren & William W. Turner Hinckle
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THE FISH IS RED: The Story of the Secret War Against Castro

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The incredible story of the CIA's bizarre effort to do in Cuban leader Fidel Castro--via everything from Mafia hit men to exploding cigars--has been coming out ever since John Roselli, one of the Mafioso involved, started to sing in court. Despite some media attention, the news that a government agency spent millions in a ""secret war"" of this kind has hardly raised a public outcry. Hinckle, former Ramparts editor and current San Francisco Chronicle columnist, and Turner, a former FBI agent and co-author (with Jon G. Christian) of The Assassination of Robert Kennedy, now lay out the whole mad and ridiculous project. The Mafia connection to Cuba is straight out of Godfather II, with big money sunk into hotels and casinos and dreams of more--all spoiled by the entry of Castro's guerrillas into Havana. The rebel victory produced two additional sets of dissidents: American officials and the Cuban political anti-Castroites who fled to Miami. Hinckle and Turner splice together the threads of the ensuing alliance--which began with the Bay of Pigs invasion, plots to sabotage Fidel's beard, secret commando units, etc., but also branched out, they allege, to include: the suspect assassination of JFK (whose brother Robert was an early advocate of ""getting"" Castro, and then not only soured on the wilder plots but went after the Mafia too); the Watergate break-in (which, notoriously, employed several veteran anti-Castroites, including E. Howard Hunt, originator of the line used here as a title); and the assassination of Chilean leader Orlando Letelier. The story is full of unsavory types doing unsavory things--from soldier of fortune Frank Sturgis to Richard Nixon, whom the authors depict as the mobsters' best friend. But while Hinckle and Turner have interviewed many of those involved over the years, most of their information comes from public sources. So, like Anthony Summers' Conspiracy (on the JFK assassination), their book chiefly consolidates what we've already known or suspected. Readers who want to know all the ins and outs, however, will find them vividly set forth here.

Pub Date: Sept. 30th, 1981
Publisher: Harper & Row