Revolutionary Latin American Women

Follow the UNC Press Blog for a celebration of women’s histories and women historians throughout March.

This year we are celebrating the significant contributions of notable women, renown and lesser known, throughout history, as well as women historians past and present that have been published by UNC Press.

Two recently published biographies, Celia Sánchez Manduley: The Life and Legacy of a Cuban Revolutionary by Tiffany A. Sippial and Beatriz Allende: A Revolutionary Life in Cold War Latin America by Tanya Harmer, tell the stories of these influential feminist figures that challenged the political patriarchies of Cuba and Chile.

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Praise for Tiffany A. SIppial’s Celia Sánchez Manduley:

“Sippial’s biography, based on hundreds of interviews, suggests that in the end, [Celia Sánchez Manduley’s] reticence might have been her greatest achievement, the performance that made everything else she accomplished possible.”—Guernica

“Sippial’s ‘feminist biography’ of Celia Sánchez Manduley, Fidel Castro’s right-hand woman, seeks its famously private subject in official memorials, museums, press reports, family interviews, popular culture and a cache of personal papers – only to conclude that ‘the ‘real’ Sánchez . . . is largely unknowable to us all’.”—Times Literary Supplement

“In this unprecedented critical biography, Sippial opens a window onto the consciousness of Celia Sánchez Manduley, possibly the Cuban Revolution’s staunchest loyalist and one of Fidel Castro’s primary confidantes. Sánchez emerges as a savvy architect of the post-1959 revolutionary regime who attempted to limit its authoritarian contradictions. That Sippial is one of very few to ever gain access to the state’s official historical archive since Sánchez inaugurated it in 1964  alone makes this book mandatory reading for anyone interested in learning how revolutionary Cuba became Communist Cuba in less than two decades.”–Lillian Guerra, author of Visions of Power

Praise for Tanya Harmer’s Beatriz Allende:

“While previous studies lionized or sentimentalized Beatriz, Harmer roots the subject in the context of the time period and brings to bear her own expertise in Cold War Latin America. A definitive biography of a female revolutionary.”—Library Journal

“An engaging, beautifully written biography. . . . The text is rich in stories as the author masterfully moves between Beatriz’s personal life and the broader political history of Latin America. . . . Highly recommended.”—CHOICE Reviews

“Demolishing the myth that women were at best secondary actors in the Chilean and Latin American Left, Harmer gives readers a close-up view of what it meant to be a revolutionary confronting the United States at the height of the Cold War. Beatriz Allende movingly illustrates the unrecognized contributions Beatriz made to the Chilean and Latin American Left and the enormous price she paid for her work. This book is a convincing demonstration of how much we can learn about the inner workings of politics, governments, and parties through the study of one individual’s life. It is simultaneously a clear, moving history of Beatriz herself, her multiple relationships, both personal and political, and a history of Chile, Latin America, and the Cold War.”—Margaret Power, author of Right-Wing Women in Chile

Tiffany A. Sippial, associate professor of history at Auburn University, is the author of Prostitution, Modernity, and the Making of the Cuban Republic, 1840–1920.

Tanya Harmer, associate professor of international history at the London School of Economics and Political Science, is the author of Allende’s Chile and the Inter-American Cold War.