Fidel & Che

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 11 October, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 11 October, 2009, 12:00am

Fidel & Che
by Simon Reid-Henry
Sceptre, HK$128

Marx and Engels, Trotsky and Lenin, Castro and Guevara are all well-known double acts, but it is the friendship of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara that is unmatched in history. Simon Reid-Henry illustrates why, in this dual biography published to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Cuban revolution. The book juxtaposes the men's lives and ideas, which at times intersect, such as when the Argentinian and the Cuban first meet in 1955, in Mexico City. Castro (who had fled Cuba) and Guevara (in exile after traversing South America) are on different paths although they have a common enemy: foreign intervention, which they blame for supporting corrupt and violent political regimes. Reid-Henry shows how the men's political ideas are influenced by the places they visit, and how they change over the dozen years Guevara spends supporting Castro. Where Guevara is idealistic, his comrade is politically astute - which may be why he has to date said little about their friendship. Reid-Henry's scholarship is evident, with recently declassified material merged with his fact-filled, fascinating account of their intense, 'full-blooded friendship'.