• The Limits of Anglo-American Cooperation in Cuba, 1945–1959

      Hull, Christopher; University of Chester
      Before the 1959 Cuban Revolution, British governments and diplomats in Havana sought to protect their interests in Cuba, always sensitive to reactions from Washington – a vital transatlantic ally with a significant political and economic stake in the Caribbean island. After the Second World War, the allies continued their wartime cooperation over sugar supplies, with Cuba’s mainstay export still important to Britain’s refining industry and ongoing food rationing. Following two democratically-elected but highly corrupt Cuban governments, both the US State Department and the British Foreign Office came to recognise the benefits of strongman Fulgencio Batista’s abrupt return to Cuba’s political scene in 1952. Everything changed, however, when the Fidel Castro-led anti-Batista insurgency gained strength between late 1956 and 1958, and London and Washington became increasingly concerned about a political upheaval beyond US control. The issue of arms sales to Cuba became a touchstone not only of US and British policy toward Batista’s regime, but also of Anglo-American cooperation. When it came, Castro’s revolutionary triumph questioned the strength of US hegemony in its hemisphere.
    • Our Man Down in Havana: The Story Behind Graham Greene's Cold War Spy Novel

      Hull, Christopher; University of Chester (Pegasus Books, 2019-04-02)
      Analyses the backstory to Graham Greene's 1958 spy-fiction satire Our Man in Havana, including the British writer’s seven pre-revolutionary and five post-revolutionary visits to Cuba. This book reveals the gestation of his iconic 1958 novel, and its 1959 film version, directed by Carol Reed. Background includes his wartime experience in MI6, first in Sierra Leone, and later under Kim Philby's supervision in London. The book also details Greene's ongoing manic depression and turbulent private life, context for him beginning to write his novel in the midst of the Fidel Castro-led armed insurrection against the U.S.-backed dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista in November 1957. Following the triumph of the Cuban Revolution on 1st January 1959, Greene witnessed the development of Fidel Castro’s socialist and then communist revolution during its key early years, on journalistic assignments from the Daily Telegraph in 1963 and 1966. We thus gain Greene’s overview of Cuba during its capitalist apogee under dictatorial Batista and its radical social transformation under Castro’s charismatic leadership.