Leadership in the Cuban Revolution

The Unseen Story

Antoni Kapcia


A history of the forgotten leaders of the Cuban Revolution.
Most conventional readings of the Cuban Revolution have seemed mesmerised by the personality and role of Fidel Castro, often missing a deeper political understanding of the Revolution’s underlying structures, bases of popular loyalty and ethos of participation.

In this ground-breaking work, Antoni Kapcia focuses instead on a wider cast of characters. Along with the more obvious, albeit often misunderstood, contributions from Che Guevara and Raúl Castro, Kapcia looks at the many others who, over the decades, have been involved in decision-making and have often made a significant difference. He interprets their various roles within a wider process of nation-building, demonstrating that Cuba has undergone an unusual, if not unique, process of change.

Essential reading for anyone interested in Cuba's history and its future.

Author Bio

Antoni Kapcia is professor of Latin American history at the University of Nottingham, where he also directs the Centre for Research on Cuba. Since 1975, he has published extensively on aspects of modern and contemporary Cuban history, focusing especially on political and cultural history and on the questions of ideology and national identity. His books include Cuba: Island of Dreams (2000), Havana: The Making of Cuban Culture (2005), Cuba in Revolution (2008) and (in conjunction with Par Kumaraswami) Literary Culture in Cuba: Revolution, Nation-Building and the Book (2012).

Table of Contents

  • Introduction: The problem with 'Fidel-centrism'
  • 1. The core leadership: the familiar triumvirate
  • 2. The formation of 'the vanguard': 1953-58
  • 3. Taking stock and finding direction: 1959-62
  • 4. The years of 'revolutionary' flux: 1963-75
  • 5. The stable years: systems, institutions and bureaucrats: 1975-86
  • 6. The return of fluidity: 1986 to the present
  • 7. Inclusion and exclusion: 'within' and 'against' the Revolution
  • 8. Inclusion and collectivity: a revolutionary corporatism?


'An original, balanced and must-needed book which will be of value to all social sciences in analysing Cuba as it enters the "post-Castro" era.'
Arnold August, author of Cuba and Its Neighbours

'This highly original study of Cuba turns on its head traditional views of the Cuban Revolution. Balanced and insightful, this highly readable analysis is obligatory reading for all who seek to understand why revolutionary Cuba has lasted for so long, and where it is going after Raúl Castro leaves. This will undoubtedly prove one of the most enduring analyses of the Cuban Revolution.'
John Kirk, Dalhousie University

'A magnificent account of the creation of Cuba's revolutionary government. Going far beyond the central figures of Fidel, Raul and Che Guevara, Kapcia's encyclopaedic knowledge of less familiar figures brings into sharp focus their importance and significance. He has produced an indispensable work that will be welcomed by all students of the Cuban story.'
Richard Gott, author of Cuba: A New History

'Tony Kapcia has produced a formidable challenge to conventional cubanology. No serious student of contemporary Cuba can afford to ignore Kapcia's interpretation.'
Steve Ludlam, University of Sheffield

'Kapcia has provided a splendid study, rich with insight and intellect. This superb study will assume its rightful place among the more important contributions to our knowledge of the Cuban reality, past and present.'
Louis A. Pérez, Jr., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


Publication Date: 11 September 2014
256 pages

Product ISBNs: Paperback: 9781780325255
Hardback: 9781780325279
eBook ePub: 9781780325286
eBook PDF: 9781780325262
eBook Kindle: 9781780325293

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