School of History podcast: 'Ten Days in Harlem', with Professor Simon Hall

Professor Simon Hall talks to Dr John Gallagher about how Fidel Castro's visit to New York revolutionised the Cold War.

Dr John Gallagher, Lecturer in Early Modern History, has a very interesting conversation with Professor of Modern History Simon Hall, an expert in the history of the United States; the American South; the civil rights movement; the history of the 1960s; LGBT history; and global protest during the Cold War.

John and Simon discuss Ten Days in Harlem: Fidel Castro and the Making of the 1960s (Faber & Faber, 2020), which investigates how Fidel Castro's visit to New York revolutionised the Cold War, and also Simon's journey as a historian and how his previous research interests created an interest in the topic of the Cold War and the history of post-war USA. 

The conversation explores how the book is set against the broader narrative of cultural change in the 1960s both in the US and the wider world, and how the Cuban revolutionaries become folk heroes to a generation of American leftists (particularly college students), who saw Castro as a romantic revolutionary. 

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Fidel is seen almost as a Robin Hood-style figure with a band of hipster revolutionaries who swept down from the mountains to overthrow this dictatorship, so he encapsulates a generational rebellion, which becomes really important as the 60s unfold.

Professor Simon Hall