Fidel Castro is one of the most interesting and controversial personalities of our time - he has become a myth and an icon. He was the first Cuban Caudillo - the man who freed his country from dependence on the USA and who lead his people to rediscover their national identity and pride. Castro has outlived generations of American presidents and Soviet leaders. He has survived countless assassination attempts by the CIA, the Mafia, and Cubans living in exile. He has become one of the greatest politicians of the 20th Century. His biography, and the history of his country exemplify the tensions between East and West, North and South, rich and poor. As Castro's life draws to a close, the question as to what will become of Cuba is more important that ever. Will Castro open Cuba to economic reform and democratization, or stick to his old slogan socialism or death? In this remarkable, up-to-date reconstruction of Castro's life, Volker Skierka addresses these questions and provides an account of the economic, social, and political history of Cuba since Castro's childhood. He draws on a number of little-known sources, including material from the East German communist archives on Cuba, which were until recently inaccessible. This is an exciting, painstakingly researched, and authortiative account of the life of one of the most extraordinary political figures of our time.