CRF Blog

The Yankee Comandante

by Shruti Modi

In The Yankee Comandante for The New Yorker, David Grann tells the story of William Alexander Morgan, a legendary Yankee commander in Castro’s Cuban Revolution.

The gunmen gazed at the man they had been ordered to kill. Morgan was nearly six feet tall, and had the powerful arms and legs of someone who had survived in the wild. With a stark jaw, a pugnacious nose, and scruffy blond hair, he had the gallant look of an adventurer in a movie serial, of a throwback to an earlier age, and photographs of him had appeared in newspapers and magazines around the world. The most alluring images — taken when he was fighting in the mountains, with Fidel Castro and Che Guevara — showed Morgan, with an untamed beard, holding a Thompson submachine gun. Though he was now shaved and wearing prison garb, the executioners recognized him as the mysterious Americano who once had been hailed as a hero of the revolution. [more]