Monday, March 25, 2013

One Day in December: Celia Sánchez and the Cuban Revolution by Nancy Stout, foreword by Alice Walker
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New from MR Press!

One Day in December
Celia Sánchez and the Cuban Revolution

by Nancy Stout, foreword by Alice Walker

“I love this book. . . an insightful, mature, and sometimes droll exploration of a profoundly liberated, adventuresome and driven personality. I love the life of Celia Sánchez, a life that was singular, sui generis, and true to its time of revolution and change in Cuban society.”
—Alice Walker, author, The Color Purple; winner, Pulitzer Prize & National Book Award

“A penetrating and startling biography. . . takes on the importance of the work of Arundhati Roy or Noam Chomsky in its insistence on looking at facts rather than self-serving capitalist and neocolonialist myth. . . also a damn good read about a passionate, sensuous, and brilliant woman!”
—Sapphire, author of Push and The Kid

“Engrossing, endearing, and eloquent, this sympathetic and superbly crafted portrait of the ‘True Flower of the Revolution’ unfolds in magnificent detail. . . so intimate is Stout’s well-informed tour de force that the description of Sánchez’s death brings the reader to tears, inspired by a deep sense of love and loss.”
—Christopher P. Baker, author, Mi Moto Fidel: Motorcycling Through Castro’s Cuba

“In this riveting and eloquent portrait, Celia Sánchez finally emerges as a major star in Cuba’s revolutionary drama: a political animal, a management consultant, a historian, and of course, a confidante to Fidel Castro. . . her legacy, especially for women and girls’ education and health, and as the chief archivist of the insurgency, comes alive in Stout’s exhaustively researched biography.”
—Julia Sweig, Nelson and David Rockefeller Senior Fellow and Director, Latin America Studies and Global Brazil Initiative, Council on Foreign Relations

“This excellent book tells us about Celia Sánchez, an early leader of the Cuban Revolution and a fascinating character. . . as Stout movingly describes her, Celia was totally devoted to Fidel and to the Cuban Revolution. And she loved and was loved by the Cuban people. I was in Havana at the time of her death in January of 1980 and well remember the deep sadness it occasioned.”
—Wayne S. Smith, senior fellow and director of the Cuba Project, Center for International Policy; former head, U.S. Interests Section in Havana

Celia Sánchez is the missing actor of the Cuban Revolution. Although not as well known in the English-speaking world as Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, Sánchez played a pivotal role in launching the revolution and administering the revolutionary state. She joined the clandestine 26th of July Movement and went on to choose the landing site of the Granma and fight with the rebels in the Sierra Maestra. She collected the documents that would form the official archives of the revolution, and, after its victory, launched numerous projects that enriched the lives of many Cubans, from parks to literacy programs to helping develop the Cohiba cigar brand. All the while, she maintained a close relationship with Fidel Castro that lasted until her death in 1980.
The product of ten years of original research, this biography draws on interviews with Sánchez’s friends, family, and comrades in the rebel army, along with countless letters and documents. Biographer Nancy Stout was initially barred from the official archives, but, in a remarkable twist, was granted access by Fidel Castro himself, impressed as he was with Stout’s project and aware that Sánchez deserved a worthy biography. This is the extraordinary story of an extraordinary woman who exemplified the very best values of the Cuban Revolution: selfless dedication to the people, courage in the face of grave danger, and the desire to transform society.

Nancy Stout is a writer and photographer living in New York City, currently employed by Fordham University as a Reference Librarian. Her books include Great American Thoroughbred Racetracks, Homestretch, The West Side YMCA: A Social and Architectural Retrospective, Havana/La Habana (with architect Jorge Rigau, who wrote the text), and Habanos: the Story of the Havana Cigar (author and photographer).

Alice Walker is an author, poet, and activist; she won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for her novel The Color Purple.
one day in december
457 pages | $28.95 hardcover
order online

read Alice Walker's foreword in Monthly Review

visit the One Day in December website
nancy stout
Nancy Stout
at the New York City
Book Launch

Friday, April 5
the Center for Cuban Studies

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