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About the Book

Beyond the Book

576 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 24 illus., 15 maps, appends., notes, bibl., index

Not for Sale in South Africa

Envisioning Cuba

Paper
ISBN  978-0-8078-5464-8
Published: February 2003

Conflicting Missions

Havana, Washington, and Africa, 1959-1976

By Piero Gleijeses


Awards & Distinctions

2003 Robert H. Ferrell Prize, Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations

This is a compelling and dramatic account of Cuban policy in Africa from 1959 to 1976 and of its escalating clash with U.S. policy toward the continent. Piero Gleijeses's fast-paced narrative takes the reader from Cuba's first steps to assist Algerian rebels fighting France in 1961, to the secret war between Havana and Washington in Zaire in 1964-65--where 100 Cubans led by Che Guevara clashed with 1,000 mercenaries controlled by the CIA--and, finally, to the dramatic dispatch of 30,000 Cubans to Angola in 1975-76, which stopped the South African advance on Luanda and doomed Henry Kissinger's major covert operation there.

Based on unprecedented archival research and firsthand interviews in virtually all of the countries involved--Gleijeses was even able to gain extensive access to closed Cuban archives--this comprehensive and balanced work sheds new light on U.S. foreign policy and CIA covert operations. It revolutionizes our view of Cuba's international role, challenges conventional U.S. beliefs about the influence of the Soviet Union in directing Cuba's actions in Africa, and provides, for the first time ever, a look from the inside at Cuba's foreign policy during the Cold War.

"Fascinating . . . and often downright entertaining. . . . Gleijeses recounts the Cuban story with considerable flair, taking good advantage of rich material."--Washington Post Book World

"Gleijeses's research . . . bluntly contradicts the Congressional testimony of the era and the memoirs of Henry A. Kissinger. . . . After reviewing Dr. Gleijeses's work, several former senior United States diplomats who were involved in making policy toward Angola broadly endorsed its conclusions."--New York Times

"With the publication of Conflicting Missions, Piero Gleijeses establishes his reputation as the most impressive historian of the Cold War in the Third World. Drawing on previously unavailable Cuban and African as well as American sources, he tells a story that's full of fresh and surprising information. And best of all, he does this with a remarkable sensitivity to the perspectives of the protagonists. This book will become an instant classic."--John Lewis Gaddis, author of We Now Know: Rethinking Cold War History

Based on unprecedented research in Cuban, American, and European archives, this is the compelling story of Cuban policy in Africa from 1959 to 1976 and of its escalating clash with U.S. policy toward the continent. Piero Gleijeses sheds new light on U.S. foreign policy and CIA covert operations, revolutionizes our view of Cuba's international role, and provides the first look from the inside at Cuba's foreign policy during the Cold War.

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About the Author

Piero Gleijeses is professor of American foreign policy at the School of Advanced International Studies at the Johns Hopkins University. He is author of Shattered Hope: The Guatemalan Revolution and the United States, 1944-1954.


Reviews

“Probably the most comprehensive, well researched work on the role of Cubans in the liberation wars in South Africa.”
--Dissident Voice

"A monumental study. . . . A model of how to document one of the least understood but most significant episodes in international Cold War politics."
--Science and Society

"Gleijeses's research . . . bluntly contradicts the Congressional testimony of the era and the memoirs of Henry A. Kissinger. . . . [This] book strongly challenges common perceptions of Cuban behavior in Africa. . . . After reviewing Dr. Gleijeses's work, several former senior United States diplomats who were involved in making policy toward Angola broadly endorsed its conclusions."
--New York Times

"Conflicting Missions . . . is fascinating . . . and often downright entertaining. . . . Gleijeses recounts the Cuban story with considerable flair, taking good advantage of rich material. The cast of characters all by itself would ignite lively conversations among Africa hands and students of U.S. policy in the developing world. . . . Rich and provocative."
--Washington Post Book World

"Admirable. . . . A racy tale of revolutionary romance."
--The Economist

"This will be as good an account of the whole episode as one will likely get."
--Washington Times

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