Teresa Casuso in Cuba and Castro has written, with a historical background of Cuba, a decidedly personal account of her relationship to Fidel Castro from their early association in Mexico to her well-publicized break with the bearded revolutionary in 1960.

Miss Casuso, a devoted friend of exPresident Carlos Prío Socarrás, chose exile in Mexico after the Batista coup in 1952. She wrote novels and had a short career in Mexican films before meeting Castro, who found her home convenient for storing weapons prior to his invasion of Cuba in 1956. Miss Casuso was useful in other ways; she provided an introduction to Prío, who was persuaded to support the expedition to the Sierra Maestra.

With the exit of Batista from Cuba January 1, 1959, Miss Casuso promptly assumed command of the Cuban Embassy in Mexico City. She established order out of chaos and provided for the return of Cuban exiles to Havana. Her own return, however was something less than triumphal. She had to wait two days at Castro’s headquarters at the Havana-Hilton before she could see him.

Castro did reward her, nevertheless, with an appointment as his press officer. His erratic behavior, however, made her job of arranging interviews for visiting dignitaries extremely difficult. Furthermore, her entrée to Castro was blocked by a new feminine lead, Celia Sanchez. As one who had not been in the Sierra Maestra, Miss Casuso was definitely not one of the new socially élite.

In spite of Castro’s indifference to her, Miss Casuso persisted in mothering him. She rewarded him with a rose whenever he gave a constructive speech, and with silence whenever he acted badly in public. His frequent temper tantrums, extravagance, and sometimes repugnant personal habits finally caused her disenchantment to become acute. She recalls, “For the first time I asked myself if, in order to herd the masses into a state of adoration and to become the supreme leader of a revolution, it is not necessary, as an indispensable prerequisite, to be mentally unbalanced.”

Miss Casuso eventually requested a transfer to Cuba’s delegation at the United Nations. After Castro’s spectacular and irresponsible appearance before the General Assembly in September, 1960, she decided on permanent exile, not, however, without painful soul-searching. “I learned through personal experience what fanaticism is, how it breaks every human bond and ethical feeling and tramples even memories, tramples everything.”

Although the author thus learned something of human nature, she reveals throughout the book an uncritical acceptance of the temptation to criticize the United States as the source of all the ills of Cuba. In this respect she is still being used effectively by Castro. This book is thus not particularly valuable except as personal history.