Where the Boys Are

Where the Boys Are:Cuba, Cold War and the Making of a New Left

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Discusses US-Latin relations in the 1950s. Drawing equally on cultural and political materials, Van Gosse investigates the alliance of North American intellectuals, old leftists and rebellious youth which came together through the inspiration of Fidel Castro's revolutionary guerillas.

The ignominious failure of the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 marked the culmination of a curious episode at the height of the Cold War. At the end of the fifties, restless and rebellious youth, avant-garde North American intellectuals, old leftists, and even older liberals found inspiration in the images and achievements of Fidel Castro’s revolutionary guerrillas. Fidelismo swept across the US, as young North Americans sought to join the 26th of July Movement in the Sierra Maestra.
Drawing equally on cultural and political materials, from James Dean and Desi Arnaz to C. Wright Mills and Studies on the Left, Gosse explains how the peculiar conjuncture of 1950s America produced the first great Third World solidarity movement, the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, which became a locus for the New Left emerging from the ashes of Kennedy’s New Frontier.
Where the Boys Are captures the strange essence of that much-abused decade, the 1950s, at once demonstrating the perfidy of Cold War American liberal opinion towards Cuba and its revolution while explaining why Fidel and his compañeros made such appealing idols for the young, the restless, and the politically adventurous.


  • This is a surprising history, full of unexpected turns, that persuasively revises the standard account of the New Left. Where the Boys Are is a major contribution to understanding where we have been and where we may be headed.

    Marilyn B. Young
  • This lucidly written, carefully researched book revises our understanding of the movements that shaped the sixties.

    Barbara Epstein
  • Van Gosse has written a superb book about the impact of Fidel Castro and the Cuban revolution upon American politics in the Cold War era. It is certain to stir up lively historical debate.

    David M. Oshinsky