January 16, 2004—Julia E. Sweig, Council senior fellow and deputy director of the Latin America Program, has won the prestigious 2003 American Historical Association’s Herbert Feis Award for her acclaimed book, Inside the Cuban Revolution: Fidel Castro and the Urban Underground. The annual award is given by the AHA to recognize the best book of the year by an independent or public scholar.
The award committee, chaired by diplomatic historian Richard Immerman, recognized Sweig for her “thoroughly researched and elegantly written volume,” adding that the book “challenges interpretations of the 1959 Cuban revolution…Sweig exposes flaws both in Cuba’s national mythology and in the perceptions of the Cuban revolution developed abroad.”
Granted unprecedented access to the classified records of President Fidel Castro’s 26th of July Movement’s underground operatives—the only scholar inside or outside of Cuba allowed to research the complete collection in the Cuban Council of State’s Office of Historic Affairs—Sweig details the ideological, political, and strategic debates of the 1950’s anti-dictatorial insurrection in what the historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. called a “brilliantly researched tour de force.”
“As the title suggests, Julia tells the inside story of the Cuban revolution,” said Council President Richard N. Haass. “Her book is a must read for understanding our tortured history with Cuba and for penetrating what makes that country tick. This recognition by the American Historical Association is well and fully deserved.”
The Herbert Feis Award was established by the American Historical Association in 1982 in honor of after Herbert Feis (1893-1972), public servant and Pulitzer prize-winning historian of recent American foreign policy. Previous award winners include Theodore Draper and George Perkovich.
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