Published: Feb. 8, 2018 By

Women and the Cuban InsurrectionAbout the author:  Lorraine Bayard de Volo is an Associate Professor and Chair of Women and Gender Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Book description: Using gender analysis and focusing on previously unexamined testimonies of women rebels, political scientist Lorraine Bayard de Volo shatters the prevailing masculine narrative of the Cuban Revolution. Contrary to the Cuban War story's mythology of an insurrection single-handedly won by bearded guerrillas, Bayard de Volo shows that revolutions are not won and lost only by bullets and battlefield heroics. Focusing on women's multiple forms of participation in the insurrection, especially those that occurred off the battlefield, such as smuggling messages, hiding weapons, and distributing propaganda, Bayard de Volo explores how gender - both masculinity and femininity - were deployed as tactics in the important though largely unexamined battle for the 'hearts and minds' of the Cuban people. Drawing on extensive, rarely-examined archives including interviews and oral histories, this author offers an entirely new interpretation of one of the Cold War's most significant events.

'Drawing upon impressive research, Lorraine Bayard de Volo has written a fascinating new history of the Cuban insurrection: a history from below. She convincingly shows that earlier political histories, with their focus on strategy and bullets, obscure the equally, or more, important story of ideas - efforts to capture hearts and minds - without which the revolutionaries would not have come to power.' Karen Kampwirth, Knox College, Illinois

'The Cuban revolution will never look the same after one reads Lorraine Bayard de Volvo's deeply researched, surprising account. She has made me look afresh at women's revolutionary activism outside the mountains, at Castro's tactical gender equity, and at Che Guevara's commitment to militarized masculinity. Everyone interested in war, revolution and feminist research will have their eyes opened by this new book. That's a promise.' Cynthia Enloe, author of The Big Push: Exposing and Challenging the Persistence of Patriarchy

Publication date: February 2018

Publisher: Cambridge University Press