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This chapter asks and answers the question: why a book about Haydée Santamaría? It introduces the woman culturally, emotionally, in terms of family background and scant formal education, and describes how she overcame enormous obstacles to situate herself on the front lines of struggle. It reviews the author’s previous shorter works on her subject. Mixing first-person experience and personal anecdote with historic material, it presents a case for exploring in depth the life of an ordinary woman who became extraordinary, the choices she made, and how her suicide kept her from being memorialized as she deserved.

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