The author of this book takes a highly original approach to understanding the past three decades of Cuban history—he offers an analysis and interpretation of the prolific writings and speeches of Fidel Castro and of numerous interviews with him. Through Castro’s own words, Sheldon Liss examines the evolution of the Cuban leader’s political and social ideas and evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of the Revolution.Liss first illuminates how intellectuals and political activists, such as Jos‚ Mart¡, Antonio Guiteras, and Ernesto “Che” Guevara, influenced Fidel’s ideological development. Next, he examines the Cuban and European origins of Castro’s political philosophy, probes his views on the deficiencies inherent in capitalism, and details why he established a vanguard Communist party. Throughout the book, Liss places Fidel’s ideas in international perspective, outlining, for example, his views of the Cuban-Soviet relationship, his reasoning behind Cuba’s support for revolutionary movements in the Third World, and his thoughts on the role of the United States in exacerbating social ills in Latin America. Finally, Liss investigates Castro’s controversial views on democracy, human rights, and freedom of artistic and intellectual expression. The book stands as a fine introduction to Cuba’s unique brand of Third World Marxism.