Guevara’s death in Bolivia closed a period of activism in Cuban foreign policy which had begun in the first days of the revolutionary victory, and intensified after 1962. The external impact of Cuban activism during this period was tenuous and, with the exception of the October crisis (1962), it did not generate much attention by students of world politics. But in the ‘70s a new international constellation emerged. On the one hand, the U.S.S.R. now had the military capability to exploit new opportunities in the Third World. On the other hand, the U. S. seemed dumbfounded by its defeat in Vietnam. Under such circumstances, the Soviets discovered a new way to improve the “rentability” of their Cuban investment by assigning Cuban soldiers a significant role in their African adventures. There is no evidence that the Cubans resented the job. And according to some observers, the Cubans even requested it.

After two introductory chapters, Erisman concentrates on Cuba’s renewed activism in the ‘70s. But instead of stressing the international aspect, the author concludes that nationalism is the main motivation of Cuban “globalism.” Admittedly, no serious student can neglect the influence of that element on Cuban affairs. But the fact that Cuban foreign behavior in the ‘70s was not exerted in Latin America as previously, but in another region—Africa—where Soviet interests prevail, raises some questions about the validity of the strategic variable emphasized by Erisman.

For a reviewer coming from the field of Latin American Area Studies, this book looks like an anomaly; there is not a single source in Spanish. The reading of Granma Weekly (a weekly newspaper written in English), plus secondary literature in the same language, is judged sufficient to write and publish a book with 203 pages on “Cuba’s international relations.” From that total, 54 pages are excerpts of Castro’s speeches, also invariably transcribed directly from Granma Weekly.