Cover

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Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-iv

Contents

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pp. v-vi

Chronology of Events

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pp. vii-xii

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Introduction

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pp. 1-5

The North American sociologist C. Wright Mills traveled to Cuba, once, to experience firsthand that island’s transition to a new sovereign state, some eighteen months after the triumph of its Revolution. Upon returning to the United States, Mills wrote a small paperback on much of what he had heard and seen, which he titled Listen, Yankee: The Revolution in Cuba.1 As he explains in the opening sentence, “This book reflects the mood as well as the...

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Chapter One: The Cuban Summer of C. Wright Mills

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pp. 6-17

On encountering the numerous writings and communications by C. Wright Mills on the Cuban Revolution, the unwary reader could be forgiven for thinking that Mills had spent many long years immersed in its study. Quite the contrary; from the time Cuba first came to Mills’s political awareness— when he began clipping newspaper articles about the situation on the island—until his death—by which time he had published Listen, Yankee and delivered many talks on the subject—was only a two-year period. Shortly..

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Chapter Two: Insurrection, Revolution, Invasion

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pp. 18-34

A proper sociology, Mills explains in The Sociological Imagination, must consider three coordinate points: biography, history, and society. Particularly important in apprehending the structural changes being brought about by the Cuban Revolution—that is to say, in addressing the question, Where is Cuban society going?—is understanding the historical transformation of its social institutions. For Mills, anticipating revolutionary trends—and countertrends—however rapidly they may be occurring, requires knowledge...

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Chapter Three: Mills on Individuals, Intellectuals, and Interviewing

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pp. 35-52

In one of his best-known passages in The Sociological Imagination, C. Wright Mills states, “What social science is properly about is the human variety, which consists of all the social worlds in which men have lived, are living, and might live.”1 These social worlds are all the social structures that have appeared in the course of human history. But to understand their essential characteristics, it is necessary that the sociologist undertake a comparative analysis: to observe social structures under a variety of circumstances and...

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Chapter Four: Recorded Interviews with Cuban Officials

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pp. 53-75

The five interviews presented in this chapter were all conducted with people in some way attached to the Revolutionary Government, four of them associated with the military. Though some respondents did at times express their own sentiments (and in fact, Mills asked specific personal questions of two of them), they were generally speaking ex officio to a citizen of a country they perceived as a menace to their efforts to create Cuba as a sovereign state. Juan Arcocha worked for the newspaper Revolución, the official organ...

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Chapter Five: Recorded Interviews with Cuban Citizens

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pp. 76-108

Though Mills tape-recorded more interviews with civil servants than he did with private citizens, the three presented here provide unique insights into life in Cuba before and during the Revolution. The interviews took place in or near Santiago, the second city of Cuba after Havana, with a population of about 160,000. Santiago had been the site of several pivotal events during the insurrection: the 1953 armed attack on the Moncada army garrison, the 1956 uprising intended to help usher in Fidel Castro’s Granma...

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Chapter Six: Fellow-Traveling with Fidel

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pp. 109-130

In the foreword to Listen, Yankee Mills states that he spent three and a half days traveling with Fidel Castro and five or six days with René C. Vallejo. Though he had never met either of these two men prior to his visit to Cuba on August 8–24, 1960, nor any of the other top government officials with whom he spoke, most of them were already familiar with Mills’s reputation, or at least with The Power Elite, the most controversial book he had written to date....

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Chapter Seven: The Book That Sold Half a Million Copies

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pp. 131-158

The historian Van Gosse has stated that “Listen, Yankee exists only as a passing reference to a dying man’s folly, cloaked in mystery or embarrassment.”1 Irving Louis Horowitz places the book’s misfortunes more directly at Mills’s doorstep, contending that the book “ended up as his poorest effort in social analysis, a tract placed at the disposal of political forces he knew little of but cared much for.”2 Half a century after its publication, both assessments are shown to be untrue. First, Mills was certainly not aware that he...

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Chapter Eight: Confronting the Enemy

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pp. 159-176

C. Wright Mills was no stranger to controversy, inside or outside of American academic sociology. Throughout the 1950s—in books such as White Collar, The Power Elite, The Causes of World War Three, and The Sociological Imagination—he had distinguished himself as one of the foremost dissident intellectuals of postwar America, and an outspoken critic of big business and mass society, of U.S. foreign policy and national security strategy....

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Acknowledgments

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pp. 177-178

Many people were most generous in proving assistance to me in researching and writing this book. First and foremost, I am grateful to Kathryn Mills for entrusting me with her father’s recorded interviews. The recordings that she made available to me consist of four CDs marked as “Reel 1, Side A”; “Reel 1, Side B”; “End of #2, Part of #3”; “End of #3, Reel #4.” They were not dated or labeled with identifying information. I thank Nikolas Mills for allowing me to publish the photos. Lawrence Ferlinghetti was very kind...

Appendix 1

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pp. 179-180

Appendix 2

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pp. 181-182

A Note on the Interviews

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pp. 183-184

Biographical Notes

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pp. 185-190

Notes

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pp. 191-220

Bibliography

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pp. 221-234

Photographs

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pp. a-p