The Ohioan Who Fought For and Against Castro (Part 2)

Click to listen to “Ohio v. Revolution (Part 2)”

In Part 2 of a 2-part episode, Alex concludes the fascinating saga of the American Comandante, William Alexander Morgan of Toledo, Ohio and how his central role in the Cuban Revolution and its aftermath changed world history. If you haven’t listened to Part One from last week go back and do that, we’ll wait…ok, good, you’re caught up.

We are joined again by author and journalist Michael Sallah to discuss William Morgan’s rise to international fame following his thrilling turn as a double agent for Castro to thwart an international coup attempt. William Morgan’s rise to fame occurs at the same time as the Castro government turns towards socialism and an alliance with the Soviet Union. Morgan, an avowed anti-communist, moves against Castro and begins raising his own army only to be discovered. We discuss Michael’s excellent book Yankee Comandante: The Untold Story of Courage, Passion and One American’s Fight to Liberate Cuba (2019). Michael details William’s demise and the fallout of his downfall to his rebel wife, Olga. Buy Michael’s book here, a truly fantastic read.

We’re rejoined by writer and historian Tony Perrottet. Tony, who writes for Smithsonian Magazine is the author of the great book Cuba Libre!: Che, Fidel and the Improbable Revolution That Changed World History (2019). Tony takes us inside Fidel Castro’s initially warm reception by Americans and his trip to the States to his turn as villain when he aligns with the Soviets leading to the Cuban Missile Crisis and over 60 years as an enemy of the United States. We discuss his many trips to Cuba, his great podcast “History Unzipped” and the failed foreign policies of the US in the 1950s. Buy Cuba Libre! here.

University of Dayton history professor and Cuban filmmaker Juan Santamarina joins to analyze Castro’s Machiavellian decision making process following the Cuban Revolution and the failure of the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961. Juan shares with us his thoughts on the current protests in Cuba and their significance in Cuban history and American politics.

Ohio v. the World: an American History Podcast is part of the Evergreen Podcast Network Check out all or old shows there. Please rate/review the show as well on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. Few stories we’ve done are more tailor made for a blockbuster Hollywood production than the story of William Morgan, the Yankee Comandante. You can email the show at with show ideas and to reach out to Alex.

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