“Seen out of context, the photographs run the risk of romanticizing the communist leader, in the vein of Che Guevara posters in American college dorm rooms. But alongside Lockwood’s writings and photographs… this hefty reprint offers a new generation a fuller look at the history of the “forbidden island” before its doors began to reopen.”
“A candid piece of work that’s testimony to the unparalleled access Lockwood secured.”
“…a superb photographic portrait of Fidel Castro in his youthful pomp.”
“Lockwood detailed the fascinating transition of the country as Castro’s forces swept away the old order of corruption dancing to the tune of the mighty American dollar. The images show a Cuba frozen in time: crowds celebrating on the streets of Havana; Castro relaxing on a veranda with friends. Lockwood’s photos reflect this sense of hope and triumph before decades of US sanctions took their toll… the value of images such as these will be to serve as testimony to the fact that, for a few decades, and regardless of how successful it was, a nation dared to dream of a better world.”
Lee Lockwood. Castro’s Cuba. An American Journalist’s Inside Look at Cuba, 1959–1969
The Real Fidel
A unique and telling portrait of Cuba and its enigmatic leader“Holds many surprises for the reader who has seen the Cuban reality . . . only through the distorting prism of propaganda.” —The New York Times Book Review, 1967
On December 31, 1958, Lee Lockwood, then a young photojournalist, went to Cuba to cover what looked to be the end of Batista’s regime. He arrived the day before Fidel Castro took power and spent a week canvassing the island before finding the victorious leader. Castro immediately took to Lockwood and over the next decade invited him back many times, granting him special access to his inner circle and free rein to explore the island without the usual restrictions imposed upon American journalists.
In 1965, Castro granted Lockwood a rare, in-depth interview but then missed appointment after appointment. Days turned into weeks turned into three interminable months, as Lockwood, like many journalists before and since, waited for Castro. But it was worth the anticipation, climaxing in a marathon seven-day interview that covered everything from racial issues in America to the Cuban Missile Crisis. It remains to this day one of the most penetrating portraits of the Cuban leader.
Originally published in 1967, Lockwood’s interviews and observations are now republished by TASCHEN alongside hundreds of photographs covering both the weeks Lockwood spent traveling with Castro and the years he documented Cuba’s transformation throughout the ’60s. From military encampments in the Sierra Maestra mountains to Havana street life and political rallies, many of these color images have never been published before. A foreword and afterword by Latin America expert Saul Landau contextualize Lockwood’s work at a moment in history when U.S.-Cuba relations once again take center stage.