1959: The Year That Inflamed the Caribbean

Certain years are pivotal in global history, and one such year was 1959, from which this book takes its title. 1959 was indeed a historic year during which, among other historic events, Fidel Castro’s guerrilla war in Cuba toppled dictator Fulgencio Batista.

This intriguing book, drawn from the pages of the author’s English-language weekly newspaper, the Haiti Sun, and from his notebooks, provides a journalist’s firsthand look at Papa Doc’s reaction—at first easing, then tightening even more brutally his tyrannical rule. Diederich then traces the ensuing impacts on Haiti’s relations with the U.S., other Caribbean nations, the rest of the Western Hemisphere, and the international community.

1959 is a historically compelling book that traces a pivotal year that began with Fidel Castro’s victory in Cuba, which triggered reverberations that changed the Caribbean.


Bernard Diederich covered Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean as a correspondent for Time magazine. Diederich was also an eyewitness to the end of the guerrilla war and the triumph of the Cuban Revolution. He secured the first interviews with Comandante Camilo Cienfuegoes and with Raul Castro after Cuban revolutionaries entered Havana, and he attended Fidel Castro’s first press conference. He is the author of Trujillo: The Death of a Dictator, Papa Doc and the Tonton Macoutesand several other books featured by Markus Wiener.