Synopses & Reviews
In To Change the World, the legendary writer and poet Margaret Randall chronicles her decade in Cuba from 1969 to 1980. Both a highly personal memoir and an examination of the revolution's great achievements and painful mistakes, the book paints a portrait of the island during a difficult, dramatic, and exciting time.
Randall gives readers an inside look at her children's education, the process through which new law was enacted, the ins and outs of healthcare, employment, internationalism, culture, and ordinary people's lives. She explores issues of censorship and repression, describing how Cuban writers and artists faced them. She recounts one of the country's last beauty pageants, shows us a night of People's Court, and takes us with her when she shops for her family's food rations. Key figures of the revolution appear throughout, and Randall reveals aspects of their lives never before seen.
More than fifty black and white photographs, most by the author, add depth and richness to this astute and illuminating memoir. Written with a poet's ear, depicted with a photographer's eye, and filled with a feminist vision, To Change the Worldand#249;neither an apology nor gratuitous attackand#249;adds immensely to the existing literature on revolutionary Cuba.
"A moving and intimate contemplation of a key historical moment that has been relegated to the margins of political discussion in the wake of the cold war."
Mark Behr, author of The Smell of Apples
"To know Cuba, neither analyses nor statistics nor official declarations nor diatribes by its adversaries are enough. One needs eyes infused with heart, passionate eyes, with which to look at the Cuban people in their daily life. In this book Margaret Randall looks at Cuba through such eyes."
Maria Lopez Vigil, author of Cuba: Neither Heaven Nor Hell
"Randall's fondness and indeed admiration for Cuba are unmistakable, especially when she's talking about the nation's systems of health care and education, a premise that will both provoke and anger some readers. Yet Randall's personal reflection on a decade in Cuba is a worthy addition to the ever growing body of literature on Cuba--past and present."
"It is Randall's ability to make the reader a part of her daily encounters that makes her memoir so engaging. Her writing humanizes a revolution all too often stereotyped by the U.S. mainstream press. The contradictions of the Cuban revolution are illustrated movingly by incidents in a mother's daily life. To Change the World not only covers the years Randall spent in Cuba and the months leading up to them, it lays the groundwork for a considered examination of the Cuban situation today, ending the last chapter with an expansive global political and societal analysis. Randall's personal story would have been a page turner in itself, but her choice to bear witness to the larger struggle of the Cuban people at a time in history when many places in the world were engaged in the struggle for social justice makes for a riveting account that will undoubtedly stand the test of time."
National Catholic Reporter
"Many ask if those of us who lived the Cuban revolution in flesh and spirit would wage that battle again. Margaret Randall's loving and realistic book reveals why we would. It gives us the highlights and shadows of a process that marked the 20th century like no other."
Mirta Rodriguez Calderon, Cuban revolutionary, journalist, and feminist
In To Change the World
, the legendary writer and poet Margaret Randall chronicles her decade in Cuba from 1969 to 1980.Randall gives readers an inside look at her childrenandrsquo;s education, the process through which new law was enacted, the ins and outs of healthcare, employment, internationalism, culture, and ordinary peopleandrsquo;s lives.
About the Author
Margaret Randall is an award-winning feminist poet, photographer, and social activist with more than eighty published books to her credit, such as Stones Witness and When I Look into the Mirror and See You (Rutgers University Press). She and her family lived in Cuba from 1969 to 1980. Randall's previous works on Cuba include Cuban Women Now, Cuban Women Twenty Years Later, and Breaking the Silences: 20th Century Poetry by Cuban Women.