The Last Communist

TITLE: CASTRO'S FINAL HOUR: THE SECRET STORY BEHIND THE COMING DOWNFALL OF COMMUNIST CUBA

AUTHOR: ANDRES OPPENHEIMER

PUBLISHER: SIMON & SCHUSTER; 461 PAGES; $25

THE BOTTOM LINE: This well-reported, entertaining read shows, despite the title, why Fidel remains in power.

Reporting from a paranoia-mad communist country has never been easy, and these days Cuba is a more difficult assignment than ever. Most journalists do the prescribed, unenlightening rounds of officialdom in Havana, sneak off to see a few dissidents, then interview cab drivers or disgruntled locals in food lines. Honesty is like bread -- a commodity on rations. Oppenheimer, a Pulitzer-prizewinning...

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