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Women and the Cuban Insurrection
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Book description

Using gender analysis and focusing on previously unexamined testimonies of women rebels, political scientist Lorraine Bayard de Volo shatters the prevailing masculine narrative of the Cuban Revolution. Contrary to the Cuban War story's mythology of an insurrection single-handedly won by bearded guerrillas, Bayard de Volo shows that revolutions are not won and lost only by bullets and battlefield heroics. Focusing on women's multiple forms of participation in the insurrection, especially those that occurred off the battlefield, such as smuggling messages, hiding weapons, and distributing propaganda, Bayard de Volo explores how gender - both masculinity and femininity - were deployed as tactics in the important though largely unexamined battle for the 'hearts and minds' of the Cuban people. Drawing on extensive, rarely-examined archives including interviews and oral histories, this author offers an entirely new interpretation of one of the Cold War's most significant events.

Reviews

'Drawing upon impressive research, Lorraine Bayard de Volo has written a fascinating new history of the Cuban insurrection: a history from below. She convincingly shows that earlier political histories, with their focus on strategy and bullets, obscure the equally, or more, important story of ideas - efforts to capture hearts and minds - without which the revolutionaries would not have come to power.'

Karen Kampwirth - Knox College, Illinois

'The Cuban revolution will never look the same after one reads Lorraine Bayard de Volvo's deeply researched, surprising account. She has made me look afresh at women's revolutionary activism outside the mountains, at Castro's tactical gender equity, and at Che Guevara's commitment to militarized masculinity. Everyone interested in war, revolution and feminist research will have their eyes opened by this new book. That's a promise.'

Cynthia Enloe - author of The Big Push: Exposing and Challenging the Persistence of Patriarchy

'Women and the Cuban Insurrection: How Gender Shaped Castro’s Victory centers on women who heretofore were rarely acknowledged but whose contribution makes this text a very inclusive history of the mid-twentieth-century Cuban insurrection. Bayard de Volo provides a rich and detailed account of the political activities of women from the 1930s onward that in fact shaped and facilitated Castro’s success when he entered Havana on January 1, 1959. In doing so, Bayard de Volo recounts the thirty-year struggle from an intersectional perspective, using gender, class, age, region, and race as key points of her examination.'

A. Lynn Bolles Source: American Historical Review

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Contents

  • Frontmatter
    pp i-iv
  • Dedication
    pp v-vi
  • Preface
    pp ix-xii
  • 1 - Revolution Retold: What a Gender Lens Tells Us about the Cuban Insurrection
    pp 1-22
  • 2 - “How Can Men Tire When Women Are Tireless?”: Women Rebels before Moncada
    pp 23-45
  • 4 - Abeyance and Resurgence: Sustaining Rebellion in Prison and Exile
    pp 65-87
  • 5 - Gendered Rebels: Barriers and Privileges
    pp 88-113
  • 7 - “Stop the Murders of Our Children”: Mothers and the Battle for Hearts and Minds
    pp 144-164
  • 8 - Masculinity and the Guerrilla War of Ideas
    pp 165-188
  • 9 - Women Noncombatants: Multiple Paths and Contributions
    pp 189-209
  • 10 - Las Marianas: Even the Women in Arms
    pp 210-234
  • 11 - Past Is Prologue: Victory and Consolidation
    pp 235-246
  • Bibliography
    pp 247-266
  • Index
    pp 267-272

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