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Award winning war correspondent, Andrew Tully, covered the Batista take-over in Cuba in 1952 and the Castro take-over on New Year's Day in 1959, and later discussed why the invasion of Cuba failed in his bestseller, CIA The Inside Story. In A Race of Rebels (1960) he turns his first-hand observations about Cuba into a novel about Michael, a newspaper correspondent in Havana during the revolution, and his love affair with Margaret.
The love story reflects the times and, if it is less explicit and complex than modern romances, well, it makes me think of old movies and the simple appeal of being in love when life is far from ordinary.
The rebels, or the Twenty-sixth of July movement, invited Prensa Americana, war correspondents, into areas of conflict and those willing to risk their lives came away with authentic, gritty stories. Michael and other reporters witnessed first hand what governments officials could not and sent those stories home so the rest of the world would know. "I was thinking about generals and how they always stuck to pretty things like strategy when they wrote books about war, and never wrote about how messy it is for civilians ― not newspapermen but ordinary civilians ― when guns are going off in the city where they live."
Andrew Tully's greatest strengths lay in his reporting skills. A Race of Rebels might not be a great literary novel, but it does portray a piece of history in a way that straight reporting cannot. A worthy read.