In this important introduction to the career of an enigmatic leader, Sebastian Balfour traces Fidel Castro's path to power, from student leader to head of state. Taking account of recent world developments, he analyses the historical conditions that enabled Castro to sieze and maintain power *Up-to-date study of Fidel Castro's rise to power and his continuing leadership. *Provides an assessment of changing Cuban perceptions of their leader based on interviews with officials, writers, historians and journalists. *Examines Cuba's role in the international arena. *Assesses the political and economic record of Castro based on his own words, documents and letters.