Heroes, Martyrs, and Political Messiahs in Revolutionary Cuba, 1946-1958 Lillian Guerra

Publication date:
29 May 2018
Yale University Press
384 pages: 235 x 156 x 29mm
48 b-w illus.
Sales territories:

Buy this eBook

You can purchase this title from a number of online retailers:

A leading scholar sheds light on the experiences of ordinary Cubans in the unseating of the dictator Fulgencio Batista

In this important and timely volume, one of today’s foremost experts on Cuban history and politics fills a significant gap in the literature, illuminating how Cuba’s electoral democracy underwent a tumultuous transformation into a military dictatorship. Lillian Guerra draws on her years of research in newly opened archives and on personal interviews to shed light on the men and women of Cuba who participated in mass mobilization and civic activism to establish social movements in their quest for social and racial justice and for more accountable leadership. Driven by a sense of duty toward la patria (the fatherland) and their dedication to heroism and martyrdom, these citizens built a powerful underground revolutionary culture that shaped and witnessed the overthrow of Batista in the late 1950s. Beautifully illustrated with archival photographs, this volume is a stunning addition to Latin American history and politics.

Lillian Guerra is the Waldo W. Neikirk Professor of Cuban and Caribbean History at the University of Florida and the author of Visions of Power in Cuba: Revolution, Redemption, and Resistance, 1959–1971.

“Lillian Guerra’s Heroes, Martyrs, and Political Messiahs in Revolutionary Cuba, 1946–1958 is an important contribution to a growing body of competing narratives about the character of pre-1959 Cuban political culture” — Barry Carr, American Historical Review

"This is the story suppressed and smothered over with propaganda by the Castro dictatorship for nearly sixty years. It is written with passionate precision from a personal yet rigorous and thoroughly scholarly perspective."--Roberto González Echevarría, author of Love and the Law in Cervantes

“Outrage, pride, and belief in the need for change” characterized Cuba’s protest politics as its democratic regime imploded in the 1940s. Guerra traces those themes in her illuminating discussion of often-forgotten key aspects of Fulgencio Batista’s dictatorship during the 1950s and examines the rise of opposition, then revolutionary violence against his rule, placing Fidel Castro only as one of many in this multifaceted process. She shows as well how Castro crafted his personal victory in the end. Guerra’s impressive research, strong authorial voice, and attention to the views not just of the winners but also the losers, the traitors, and the lowly enrich this riveting account of the making of a revolutionary Cuba."--Jorge I. Domínguez, Harvard University

"Professor Guerra's account of the events leading up to the Cuban Revolution is key to understanding why it occurred and how this history will influence Cuba's future in the post-Castro era."—John Caulfield, Former Chief of the US Interests Section, Havana, Cuba

"This fascinating book undoubtedly is the best political history of Cuba’s 1946-1958 period: profound analysis but never boring, great literary readability that prompts continuous readers’ interest, a treasure of documented history that reveals many previously unknown, important facts."--Carmelo Mesa-Lago, author of Voices of Change in Cuba from the Expanding Non-State Sector