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Herbert Matthews

Herbert Matthews

Herbert Matthews was born in New York City on 10th January, 1900. He had volunteered for service in the First World War but reached the Western Front too late to take part in the fighting.

On his return to the United States he studied languages at Columbia University and ended up with a command of Italian, French and Spanish. After graduating in 1922 he joined the New York Times as a secretary to the Business Manager of the newspaper. According to Time Magazine: "After three years in the business office, he switched to the news department. A reluctant journalist, who still has a tendency to be ponderous and pontifical, he spent much of the next ten years longing to get back to his books (Dante, medieval history)."

In 1931 Matthews was sent by the newspaper to work at the Paris Bureau. It was from here that he was dispatched to cover the Italian invasion of Ethiopia in 1935. Matthews later wrote: "If you start from the premise that a lot of rascals are having a fight, it is not unnatural to want to see the victory of the rascal you like, and I liked the Italians during that scrimmage more than I did the British or the Abyssinians." He later admitted: "The right or the wrong of it did not interest me greatly." This attitude resulted in him being labeled a "fascist".

Paul Preston, the author of We Saw Spain Die: Foreign Correspondents in the Spanish Civil War (2008), has argued: "Matthews returned to Paris, where his early articles on the French response to the Spanish Civil War were not notably sympathetic to the Republic." In March 1937 the New York Times sent Matthews to Spain to cover the Spanish Civil War.

Based in Madrid he found the life very exciting: "Of all places to be in the world, Madrid is the most satisfactory. I thought so from the moment I arrived, and whenever I am away from it these days I cannot help longing to return. All of us feel the same way, so it is more than a personal impression. The drama, the thrills, the electrical optimism, the fighting spirit, the patient courage of these mad and wonderful people - these are things worth living for and seeing with one's own eyes."

Matthews spent a lot of time with Ernest Hemingway in Spain. Alvah Bessie met them at Ebro: "One was tall, thin, dressed in brown corduroy, wearing horn-shelled glasses. He had a long, ascetic face, firm lips, a gloomy look about him. The other was taller, heavy, red-faced, one of the largest men you will ever see; he wore steel-rimmed glasses and a bushy mustache. These were Herbert Matthews of The New York Times and Ernest Hemingway, and they were just as relieved to see us as we were to see them."

Although he arrived with little sympathy for the Popular Front government. Constancia de la Mora, who worked with Herbert Matthews in Spain, remarked: "Tall, lean, and lanky, Matthews was one of the shyest, most diffident men in Spain. He used to come in every evening, always dressed in his gray flannels, after arduous and dangerous trips to the front, to telephone his story to Paris, whence it was cabled to New York... For months he would not come near us except to telephone his stories - for fear, I suppose, that we might influence him somehow. He was so careful; he used to spend days tracking down some simple fact - how many churches in such and such a small town; what the Government's agricultural program was achieving in this or that region. Finally, when he discovered that we never tried to volunteer any information, even to the point of not offering him the latest press release unless he specifically requested it, he relaxed a little. Matthews had his own car and he used to drive to the front more often than almost any other reporter. We had to sell him the gasoline from our own restricted stores, and he was always running out of his monthly quota. Then he used to come to my desk, very shy, to beg for more. And we always tried to find it for him: both because we liked and respected him and because we did not want the New York Times correspondent to lack gasoline to check the truth of our latest news bulletin."

As Time Magazine pointed out: "When he got to Spain, his first lesson began to sink in: Fascism was designed for export, and anybody who did not want to import it must fight it. Somewhere between Valencia, blitzed Barcelona and Madrid, his ivory tower crumbled, and Matthews stepped from its rubble to do the best reporting of his career. Because it was also optimistic reporting, he wound up feeling as sick at heart as the Spanish Republicans."

Herbert Matthews was highly critical of the Non-Intervention policy of President Franklin D. Roosevelt: "He (Roosevelt) was too intelligent and experienced to fool himself about the moral issues involved" and that his "overriding consideration was not what was right or wrong, but what was best for the United States and, incidentally, for himself and the Democratic Party."

After the defeat at Ebro, Matthews left Spain: "The story that I told - of bravery, of tenacity, of discipline and high ideals - had been scoffed at by many. The dispatches describing the callousness of the French and the cynicism of the British had been objected to and denied. I, too, was beaten and sick at heart and somewhat shell-shocked, as any person must be under the nerve strain of seven weeks of incessant danger, coming at the end of two years' campaigning... But the lessons I had learned! They seemed worth a great deal. Even then, heartsick and discouraged as I was, something sang inside of me. I, like the Spaniards, had fought my war and lost, but I could not be persuaded that I had set too bad an example."

Herbert Matthews wrote at the end of the Spanish Civil War: "I know, as surely as I know anything in this world, that nothing so wonderful will ever happen to me again as those two and a half years I spent in Spain. And it is not only I who say this, but everyone who lived through that period with the Spanish Republicans. Soldier or journalist, Spaniard or American or British or French or German or Italian, it did not matter. Spain was a melting pot in which the dross came out and pure gold remained. It made men ready to die gladly and proudly. It gave meaning to life; it gave courage and faith in humanity; it taught us what internationalism means, as no League of Nations or Dumbarton Oaks will ever do. There one learned that men could be brothers, that nations and frontiers and races were but outer trappings, and that nothing counted, nothing was worth fighting for, but the idea of liberty."

Over the next few years he published Eyewitness in Abyssinia (1937), Two Wars and More to Come (1938) and The Fruits of Fascism (1943). During the Second World War Matthews served as the Rome correspondent for the New York Times. He also reported the war from India from July 1942 to July 1943. In 1945 he headed the London Bureau of the newspaper.

At the end of the war Matthews stated: "The democracies and the Communist power facing each other over the stricken field of Fascism. They need not settle their differences by war... But war, as we have learned to our sorrow, is not avoided by appeasement; it is avoided by possessing the strength to hold your own and by using that strength for political purposes."

In 1949 Matthews joined the Editorial Board of the New York Times. Matthews took a keen interest in Latin America and wrote numerous articles and editorials on the subject. In 1957 Ruby Phillips, the Bureau Chief in Havana, arranged for Matthews to interview Fidel Castro in the Sierra Maestra. In the interview Castro spoke about his plans to overthrow Fulgencio Batista.

In July 1959 Matthews returned to Cuba. His reporting of events caused a great deal of controversy: "This is not a Communist revolution in any sense of the word, and there are no Communists in positions of control... Even the agrarian reform, Cubans point out with irony, is not at all what the Communists were suggesting, for it is far more radical and drastic than the Reds consider wise as a first step to the collectivization they, but not the Cubans, want." This was in contrast to the views of Ruby Phillips, who also worked for the New York Times: "Since the victory of the Castro revolution last January, the Communists and the 26th of July movement have been in close cooperation."

Matthews retired from the New York Times in 1967. Two years later, he published Fidel Castro: A Political Biography (1969). His autobiography, A World in Revolution: A Newspaperman's Memoir, was published in 1972. This was followed by Revolution in Cuba (1975).

Herbert Matthews died in Adelaide, South Australia, on 30 July 1977.

Of all places to be in the world, Madrid is the most satisfactory. The drama, the thrills, the electrical optimism, the fighting spirit, the patient courage of these mad and wonderful people - these are things worth living for and seeing with one's own eyes.

In May 1936, Matthews returned to Paris, where his early articles on the French response to the Spanish Civil War were not notably sympathetic to the Republic. Nevertheless, he became sufficiently fascinated by events in Spain that he asked for, and received, a posting there after Carney's abandonment of Republican Spain. Despite arriving with sympathies for the Italians, Matthews would write during the Spanish Civil War: "No one who knows what is happening here and who has any pretense to intellectual honesty can forbear to take sides."

Tall, lean, and lanky, Matthews was one of the shyest, most diffident men in Spain. And we always tried to find it for him: both because we liked and respected him and because we did not want the New York Times correspondent to lack gasoline to check the truth of our latest news bulletin.

The story that I told - of bravery, of tenacity, of discipline and high ideals - had been scoffed at by many. I, too, was beaten and sick at heart and somewhat shell-shocked, as any person must be under the nerve strain of seven weeks of incessant danger, coming at the end of two years' campaigning. For a few years afterwards I suffered from a form of claustrophobia, brought on by being caught, as in a vise, in a refuge in Tarragona during one of the last bombings. So I was depressed, physically and mentally and morally... I, like the Spaniards, had fought my war and lost, but I could not be persuaded that I had set too bad an example.

I was now with a group of three. We ran into a fascist foot patrol but got away successfully into the brush. Deciding now that it was unsafe to move by daylight, we hid and went to sleep, and moved only under cover of the dark. That night we reached the river near the town of Mora del Ebro. We could find no boats, no materials with which to build a raft. Coming upon a small house, we decided to go in. I was leading the way, grenade in hand, when from inside came a call: "Who's there?" My impulse was to throw the grenade and run, but I was suddenly struck by the realization that the words had been spoken in English and the voice sounded like George Watt, who had been in the rear of our column the previous night. I answered "It's me." Sure enough out came George and several other of our men. They had bedded down for the night-very foolishly, I thought, in view of how close they had come to being killed by their own men. Watt told me later that his group had come just as close to opening fire on us. It made a good story to tell afterwards, and a never-settled debate on which of us had been more unwise.

The river was very wide at this point and the current swift. Some of the men were not sure they could make it, so fatigued were we all, but we decided to join forces and swim across at dawn. We stripped naked, threw away all our belongings, and made for the opposite bank. Three of us got across safely just as the day was beginning to break. The bodies of two other men were washed up on the shore several days later. Besides myself, those who made it were Watt and Joseph Hecht, who was later killed in World War II. In the excitement I had kept my hat on.

Between the river and the road stretched a field of cockleburrs which we now crossed on our bare, bruised feet. This was the last straw: naked (except for my hat), hungry and exhausted, I felt I could not take another step. I had sworn never to surrender to the fascists but I told Watt that if they came along just then, I would give up (actually, we would not have had much choice, having no arms).

We lay down on the side of the road, with no idea of who might come along, too beat to care much. Suddenly a car drove up, stopped and out stepped two men. Nobody ever looked better to me in all my life-they were Ernest Hemingway and New York Times correspondent Herbert Matthews. We hugged one another, and shook hands. They told us everything they knew - Hemingway, tall and husky, speaking in explosions; Matthews, just as tall but thin, and talking in his reserved way. The main body of the Loyalist army, it seems, had crossed the Ebro, and was now regrouping to make a stand on this side of the river. The writers gave us the good news of the many friends who were safe, and we told them the bad news of some who were not. Facing the other side of the river, Hemingway shook his burly fist. "You fascist bastards haven't won yet," he shouted. "We'll show you!"

We rejoined the 15th Brigade, or rather the pitiful remnants of it. Many were definitely known to be dead, others missing. Men kept trickling across the Ebro, straggling in for weeks afterwards, but scores had been captured by the fascists. During the first few days, I took charge of what was left of the Lincoln Battalion; we were dazed and still tense from our experience. Meanwhile, the enemy conducted air raids daily against our new positions, but we were well scattered and the raids caused more fear than damage.

At Ebro... the country was so mountainous it looked as though a few machine-guns could have held off a million men. We came back down, went up side roads, crossroads, through small towns, and on a hillside near Rasquera we found three of our men: George Watt and John Gates (then adjutant Brigade Commissar), Joe Hecht. They were lying on the ground wrapped in blankets; under the blankets they were naked. They told us they had swum the Ebro early that morning; that other men had swum and drowned; that they did not know anything of Merriman or Doran, thought they had been captured. They had been to Gandesa, had been cut off there, had fought their way out, travelled at night, been sniped at by artillery. You could see they were reluctant to talk, and so we just sat down with them. Joe looked dead.

Below us there were hundreds of men from the British, the Canadian Battalions; a food truck had come up, and they were being fed. A new Matford roadster drove around the hill and stopped near us, and two men got out we recognized. One was tall, thin, dressed in brown corduroy, wearing horn-shelled glasses. These were Herbert Matthews of The New York Times and Ernest Hemingway, and they were just as relieved to see us as we were to see them. We introducd ourselves and they asked questions. They had cigarettes; they gave us Lucky Strikes and Chesterfields. Matthews seemed to be bitter; permanently so.

Hemingway was eager as a child, and I smiled remembering the first time I had seen him, at a Writers' Congress in New York. He was making his maiden public speech, and when it didn't read right, he got mad at it, repeating the sentences he had fumbled, with exceptional vehemence. Now he was like a big kid, and you liked him. He asked questions like a kid: "What then? What happened then? And what did you do? And what did he say? And then what did you do?" Matthews said nothing, but he took notes on a folded sheet of paper. "What's your name?" said Hemingway; I told him. "Oh," he said, "I'm awful glad to see you; I've read your stuff." I knew he was glad to see me; it made me feel good, and I felt sorry about the times I had lambasted him in print; I hoped he had forgotten them, or never read them. "Here," he said, reaching in his pocket. "I've got more." He handed me a full pack of Lucky Strikes.

I have already lived six years since the Spanish Civil War ended, and have seen much of greatness and glory and many beautiful things and places since then, and I may, with luck, live another twenty or thirty years, but I know, as surely asp I know anything in this world, that nothing so wonderful will ever happen to me again as those two and a half years I spent in Spain. There one learned that men could be brothers, that nations and frontiers and races were but outer trappings, and that nothing counted, nothing was worth fighting for, but the idea of liberty.

Long-faced Herbert Lionel Matthews, 46, is the kind of correspondent who makes the New York Times proud of its foreign-news coverage. Seasoned by a decade of wars (in Ethiopia, Loyalist Spain, Italy, India, France), he holds a top job on the biggest staff (55 men) that any U.S. newspaper maintains abroad. His bosses know their London bureau head as a deadly serious, high-strung reporter who makes his share of wrong guesses, but strives to make sense for tomorrow's historians as well as today's cable editors...

In 1922 Herbert Matthews, a bookish youth with a new Phi Beta Kappa key (Columbia University), answered a blind want ad in the New York Times for a secretary. The advertiser turned out to be the Times itself. After three years in the business office, he switched to the news department. A reluctant journalist, who still has a tendency to be ponderous and pontifical, he spent much of the next ten years longing to get back to his books (Dante, medieval history). Even when he became second man in the Times's Paris bureau, he writes ruefully, he stuck to his ivory tower, picked up no political knowledge that he could avoid, shut his eyes to the drama of his own century.

But a decade ago he began to learn. From Marshal Badoglio's observation post on a green African hillside, he watched Fascist bombers and blackshirts cut the Negus' forces to pieces. The Ethiopians' valor in the murderous battle of Amba Aradam made no immediate impression on his political consciousness. He came out of the campaign with an Italian War Cross, and no idea that he had witnessed a rehearsal for World War II. "The right or the wrong of it did not interest me greatly," he confesses.

But when he got to Spain, his first lesson began to sink in: Fascism was designed for export, and anybody who did not want to import it must fight it. Because it was also optimistic reporting, he wound up feeling as sick at heart as the Spanish Republicans...

The greatest lesson was political. Looking back over the wreckage of Europe, midway in the "century of totalitarianism," Matthews sees "the democracies and the Communist power facing each other over the stricken field of Fascism. But war, as we have learned to our sorrow, is not avoided by appeasement; it is avoided by possessing the strength to hold your own and by using that strength for political purposes."

If he had to choose between brands of totalitarianism Reporter Matthews - who has never been to Russia - would take Communism. His main hope: that he will never have to choose.

New York Times man Herbert L. Matthews, veteran foreign correspondent and champion of causes, scored an enviable news beat in 1957, when he made his way into the mountain fastness of Cuba's Oriente province, became the first U.S. newsman to interview Rebel Leader Fidel Castro. Matthews reported not only that Castro was alive (the Batista government had been claiming him dead), but that he represented Cuba's future. Wrote Matthews: "He has strong ideas of liberty, democracy, social justice, the need to restore the constitution, to hold elections."

Last week, with Castro's ideas of liberty, democracy and social justice in serious question, with Cuba's constitution ignored at Castro's fancy, with elections not even in prospect, Herb Matthews was back in Cuba. He had been disturbed by growing U.S. criticism of the Castro regime. "The Cuba story was getting all confused in New York," he told a fellow reporter. "I thought I'd come down."

He found that nothing - or almost nothing - had changed since he first fell under Castro's spell. Said he: "The only difference I saw was that he's putting on weight around the middle." With other newsmen - including the Times's full time Cuba correspondent, Ruby Hart Phillips - reporting growing discontent with the Castro regime, growing concern about Communist influence, Matthews presented a far brighter picture. "This is not a Communist revolution in any sense of the word, and there are no Communists in positions of control." Matthews offered a remarkable proof: "Even the agrarian reform, Cubans point out with irony, is not at all what the Communists were suggesting, for it is far more radical and drastic than the Reds consider wise as a first step to the collectivization they, but not the Cubans, want." But as early as April 23, Times-woman Ruby Phillips, in a story run by the Times (over Matthews' strong objections), reported in detail on "a Communist pattern in the development of the revolutionary program." Again, in May, Ruby Phillips wrote: "Since the victory of the Castro revolution last January, the Communists and the 26th of July movement have been in close cooperation." Most newsmen agreed. "The unrelenting enemies Dr. Castro has made because of his agrarian reform and economic measures are few, have no mass backing and are unarmed," wrote Matthews. On the same subject, Colleague Phillips had reported: "Many people with modest savings, as well as the wealthy class, have invested in land and property . and they now see themselves stripped of their possessions. They are greatly disillusioned."

Where Matthews reserved the word "dictator" for Cuba's ousted President Fulgencio Batista, he sees Castro's regime as a benevolent sort of one-man rule. Wrote he: "Premier Castro is avoiding elections in Cuba for two reasons. He feels that his social revolution now has dynamism and vast popular consent, and he does not want to interrupt the process. Moreover, most observers would agree that Cubans today do not want elections."

In the early editions of the Times for the morning after Castro resigned last week, Matthews speculated that the move came not from troubles within Cuba but out of resentment of U.S. criticism: "One must suppose that he has foreign policy and U.S. opinion mostly in mind. The attacks on him in the U.S. have wounded and angered him." But when Castro himself said that his resignation stemmed from his feud with the President of his own choosing, Manuel Urrutia Lleo, and that a lot of the trouble arose because Urrutia had spoken unkindly of the Communists, the Times withdrew the Matthews analysis from its later editions.

F. W. Sourwine: Mr. Smith, when you were appointed Ambassador to Cuba, were you briefed on the job?

Earl E. Smith: Yes; I was.

F. Sourwine: Who gave you this briefing?

Earl E. Smith: I spent 6 weeks in Washington, approximately 4 days of each week, visiting various agencies and being briefed by the State, Department and those whom the State Department designated.

F. Sourwine: Any particular individual or individuals who, had a primary part in this briefing?

Earl E. Smith: The answer is, in the period of 6 weeks I was briefed by numbers of people in the usual course as every Ambassador is briefed.

F. Sourwine: Is it true, sir, that you were instructed to get a briefing on your new job as Ambassador to Cuba from Herbert Matthews of the New York Times?

Earl E. Smith: Yes; that is correct.

F. Sourwine: Who gave you these instructions?

Earl E. Smith: William Wieland, Director of the Caribbean Division and Mexico. At that time he was Director of the Caribbean Division, Central American Affairs.

F. Sourwine: Did you, sir, in fact see Matthews?

Earl E. Smith: Yes; I did.

F. Sourwine: And did he brief you on the Cuban situation?

Earl E. Smith: Yes; he did.

F. Sourwine: Could you give us the highlights of what he told you?...

Earl E. Smith: We talked for 2 1/2 hours on the Cuban situation, a complete review o£ his feelings regarding Cuba, Batista, Castro, the situation in Cuba, and what he thought would happen.

F. Sourwine: What did he think would happen?

Earl E. Smith: He did not believe that the Batista government could last, and that the fall of the Batista government would come relatively soon.

F. Sourwine: Specifically what did he say about Castro?

Earl E. Smith: In February 1957 Herbert L. Matthews wrote three articles on Fidel Castro, which appeared on the front page of the New York Times, in which he eulogized Fidel Castro and portrayed him as a political Robin Hood, and I would say that he repeated those views to me in our conversation....

F. Sourwine: What did Mr. Matthews tell you about Batista?

Earl E. Smith: Mr. Matthews had a very poor view of Batista, considered him a rightist ruthless dictator whom he believed to be corrupt. Mr. Matthews informed me that he had very knowledgeable views of Cuba and Latin American nations, and had seen the same things take place in Spain. He believed that it would be in the best interest of Cuba and the best interest of the world in general when Batista was removed from office.

F. Sourwine: It was true that Batista's government was corrupt, wasn't it?

Earl E. Smith: It is true that Batista's government was corrupt. Batista was the power behind the Government in Cuba off and on for 25 years. The year 1957 was the best economic year that Cuba had ever had.

However, the Batista regime was disintegrating from within. It was becoming more corrupt, and as a result, was losing strength. The Castro forces themselves never won a military victory. The best military victory they ever won was through capturing Cuban guardhouses and military skirmishes, but they never actually won a military victory.

The Batista government was overthrown because of the corruption, disintegration from within, and because of the United States and the various agencies of the United States who directly and indirectly aided the overthrow of the Batista government and brought into power Fidel Castro.

F. Sourwine: What were those, agencies, Mr. Smith?

Earl E. Smith: The US Government agencies - may I say something off the record?

(Discussion off the record.)

F. Smith, the pending question before you read your statement was: What agencies of the US Government had a hand in bringing pressure to overthrow the Batista government, and how did they do it?

Earl E. Smith: Well, the agencies, certain influential people, influential sources in the State Department, lower down echelons in the CIA. I would say representatives of the majority of the US Government agencies which have anything to do with the Embassy...

F. Smith, when you talked with Matthews to get the briefing before you went to Cuba, was he introduced to you as having any authority from the State Department or as being connected with the State Department in any way?

Earl E. Smith: Let me go back. You asked me a short while ago who arranged the meeting with Mr. Matthews.

F. Sourwine: And you said Mr. Wieland.

Earl E. Smith: I said Wilham Wieland, but Wilham Wieland also had to have the approval of Roy Rubottom, who was then Assistant Secretary of State for Latin American Affairs. Now, to go back to this question, as I understood it, you said - would you mind repeating that again?

F. Sourwine: I asked if, when you were, sent to Mr. Matthews for this briefing, he was introduced to you as having any official connection with the State Department or any authority from the Department?

Earl E. Smith: Oh, no. I knew who he was, and they obviously knew I knew who he was, but I believe, that they thought it would be a good idea for me to get the viewpoint of Herbert Matthews, and also I think that Herbert Matthews is the leading Latin American editorial writer for the New York Times. Obviously the State Department would like to have the support of the New York Times...

James Eastland: Mr. Smith, we have had hearings, a great many, in Miami, with prominent Cubans, and there is a thread that runs through the whole thing that people connected with some Government agency went to Cuba and called on the chiefs of the armed forces and told them that we would not recognize the government of the President-elect, and that we would not back him, and that because of that the chiefs of the armed forces told Batista to leave the country, and they set up a government in which they attempted to make a deal with Castro. That is accurate, isn't it, Tom?

Thomas Dodd: I would say so, yes...

James Eastland: Let me ask you this question. As a matter of fact, isn't it your judgment that the State Department of the United States is primarily responsible for bringing Castro to power in Cuba?

Earl E. Smith: No, sir, I can't say that the State Department in itself is primarily responsible. The State Department played a large part in bringing Castro to power. The press, other Government agencies, Members of Congress are responsible...

James Eastland: You had been warning the State Department that Castro was a Marxist?

Earl E. Smith: Yes, sir.

James Eastland: And that Batista's government was a friendly government. That is what had been your advice as to the State Department?

Earl E. Smith: Let me answer that this way, which will make it very clear. When I went to Cuba, I left here with the definite feeling according to my briefings which I had received, that the U.S. Government was too close to the Batista regime, and that we were being accused of intervening in the affairs of Cuba by trying to perpetuate the Batista dictatorship.

After I had been in Cuba for approximately 2 months, and had made a study of Fidel Castro and the revolutionaries, it was perfectly obvious to me as it would be to any other reasonable man that Castro was not the answer; that if Castro came to power, it would not be in the best interests of Cuba or in the best interests of the United States....

In my own Embassy there were certain ones of influence who were pro-26th of July, pro-Castro, and anti-Batista.

James Eastland: Who were they?

Earl E. Smith: Do I have to answer that question, Senator?

James Eastland: Yes, I think you have to. We are not going into it unnecessarily.

Earl E. Smith: I don't want to harm anybody. That is the reason I asked.

I would say the Chief of the Political Section, John Topping, and the Chief of the CIA Section. It was revealed that the No. 2 CIA rnan in the embassy had given unwarranted and undue encouragement to the revolutionaries. This came out in the trials of naval officers after the Cienfuegos revolution of September I957...

James Eastland: He (Batista) didn't have to leave. He had not been defeated by armed force.

Earl E. Smith: Let me put it to you this way: that there are a lot of reasons for Batista's moving out. Batista had been in control off and on for 25 years. His government was disintegrating, at the end due to corruption, due to the fact that he had been in power too long. Police brutality was getting worse.

On the other hand there were three forces that kept Batista in power. He had the support of the armed forces, he had support of the labor leaders. Cuba enjoyed a good economy.

Nineteen hundred and fifty-seven was one of the best years in the economic history of Cuba. The fact that the United States was no longer supporting Batista had a devastating psychological effect, upon the armed forces and upon the leaders of the labor movement. This went a long way toward bringing about his downfall.

On the other hand, our actions in the United States were responsible for the rise to power of Castro. Until certain portions of the American press began to write derogatory articles against the Batista government, the Castro revolution never got off first base.

Batista made the mistake of overemphasizing the importance of Prio, who was residing in Florida, and underestimating the importance of Castro. Prio was operating out of the United States, out of Florida, supplying the revolutionaries with arms, ammunition, bodies and money.

Batista told me that when Prio left Cuba, Prio and Alameia (Aleman) took $140 million out of Cuba. If we cut that estimate in half, they may have shared $70 million. It is believed that Prio spent a great many millions of dollars in the United States assisting the revolutionaries. This was done right from our shores....

F. Sourwine: Is there any doubt in your mind that the Cuban Government, under Castro, is a Communist government?

Earl E. Smith: Now?

F. Sourwine: Yes.

Earl E. Smith: I would go further. I believe it is becoming a satellite.

The logical thing for the Russians to do would be to move into Cuba which they had already done, and to take over, which they would do by a mutual security pact.

Then, when the United States objects, all they have to say is:

"We will get out of Cuba when you get out of Turkey."

Thomas Dodd: You are not suggesting-

Earl E. Smith: That is a speech I made in February.

Thomas Dodd: Yes, but you are not suggesting that the Communists will cease and desist from their activities in Cuba and Central and South America, or anywhere else, if we get out of these other places?

Earl E. Smith: Out of Turkey?

Thomas Dodd: Yes.

Earl E. Smith: It would mean a great deal to them if we got out of Turkey. I am no expert on Turkey.

Thomas Dodd: You do not have to be an expert on Turkey, but you ought to be a little bit of an expert on the Communists to know this would not follow at all.

Every time we have retreated from one place, they have moved into new areas.

Earl E. Smith: Senator, I did not say what they would do.

Thomas Dodd: I know, but...

Earl E. Smith: That they would move into Cuba to retaliate with us.


Book Excerpt: The Man Who Invented Fidel: Castro, Cuba, and Herbert L. Matthews of the New York Times

Matthews learned just how much of an impression his interview with Castro had made on ordinary Cubans when he returned to Havana in June. He had come to interview Batista and report on the growing unrest. Crowds of supporters greeted him at the airport, and there were more friendly faces waiting for him outside the Sevilla Biltmore Hotel. To them, Matthews was not just a newspaperman who had taken advantage of a lucky break. He was the bearer of a truth that others had been afraid to tell. He was a sympathetic eye on the rebellion, an active participant who had delivered a devastating blow at the most crucial time. He struggled to explain that this was not so, that he was just a newspaperman doing his job. But neither Castro's supporters nor the officials surrounding Batista believed him. Matthews had to deal with suspicion and adulation at the same time. He expected to raise the government's ire and was prepared to deal with it. But the flood of public admiration made him uncomfortable, as he wrote in a memo to managing editor Turner Catledge on his return.

He watched his own words become part of the political discourse in Cuba and the United States, shaping the debate and influencing public opinion.

"I never expected and certainly never wanted to be placed in the position of a public idol like Clark Gable or Frank Sinatra. I have discovered on this trip that there is nothing more embarrassing or more tiring than to be a hero and I find it a very painful as well as naturally gratifying experience." He watched his own words become part of the political discourse in Cuba and the United States, shaping the debate and influencing public opinion. His experiences in Argentina and other Latin countries had already shown Matthews how powerful American newspapers could be in the region. Despite lingering resentment toward the United States, and the grossly uneven balance of power within the hemisphere, Latin American governments were often more concerned about American newspapers than local ones because of their influence in Washington, whose support the Latin governments needed to stay in power.

Matthews recognized this, but he had never seen anything like what had happened in Cuba in the four months since his articles were published: "[I]t is really no exaggeration to say that the role we have been playing since February is of far greater importance to Cuba than that of the State Department. The articles on Fidel Castro and the Cuban situation which I did in February have literally altered the course of Cuban history, and the job I have done has also had a sensational impact on Cuban affairs." In public he continued to insist that all he ever did was to allow Castro to be himself, and being so was enough for him to take his place in the history of Latin America. But in these personal memos, it is evident that he was beginning to change his own perception of his role in the Cuban story, from strict impartiality to mounting hostility toward the Batista regime and open sympathy for its opponents. The hubris he had often been accused of came to the surface, and he claimed responsibility for shepherding the revolution for himself and for the Times: "I think we can feel proud of the extraordinary power which The New York Times possesses in a situation like this, but just because we have that power we also have a responsibility that must be considered at every step."

Ruby Phillips had agreed to arrange for Matthews to interview Batista during his visit, and she accompanied him to the bullet-ridden palace. Batista had stopped giving formal interviews, claiming he was always misquoted. He had insisted that Matthews submit his questions in writing the day before the interview. By the time Matthews arrived, Batista's English-speaking aide Edmund Chester had already written out the answers to his questions. Batista chatted with the reporters informally and off the record. Matthews knew that Batista hated him for what he had written and all the embarrassment he had caused. Nevertheless, he asked Batista tough questions about the growing rebellion. Matthews insisted that Batista would be making a grave mistake to underestimate the strength of the resistance. Batista finally conceded that Matthews was probably right, although he was mistaken about the character of the opposition. "Yes, it is serious," he said, but he insisted that his opponents did not represent a national groundswell against him, that they were mostly criminals, Communists, and paid followers of former president Carlos Prío Socarrás.

Following the meeting, Matthews flew to Santiago to see for himself how much the situation there had deteriorated. He found the usually vibrant city dark and morose. There were bombings almost every night. Rebel sympathizers were being shot, people were disappearing. Although he was under surveillance, he met openly with many representatives of civic and religious groups, all opposed to Batista and his regime, and all willing to risk being seen in order to tell Matthews how bad the situation had become. Over and over they compared what was happening in Cuba to Hungary in 1956, where Soviet troops had crushed the popular rebellion led by Imre Nagy. And they thanked him for bringing three days of peace. While he was in Santiago, they believed, Batista would not dare to attack them.

Matthews described the rebel movement as stronger than ever, with all of Oriente Province in open revolt. Batista, furious, ordered Havana newspapers not to reprint the article. But it was translated into Spanish and distributed by the underground anyway. Shortly afterward, Santiago was again the scene of a revolutionary turning point. Frank País, the urban coordinator of the 26th of July Movement, whose revolutionary mind and logistical skills matched Castro's, was ambushed and killed by the Santiago police. His death eliminated yet another potential rival. And in the continuing struggle between the rebels in the mountains and the opposition movement in the cities-the "Sierra" and the "Llano"-Castro's guerrillas grew significantly stronger because Frank País's impassioned voice had been silenced.

Returning to New York, Matthews again received another outpouring of support. About 400 Castro supporters showed up outside the Times Building on a sunny summer afternoon carrying signs to express their gratitude to the writer who had provided such critical assistance to their country: "Thanks Mr. Matthews for tell [sic] the world the truth about Cuba's democracy." The 26th of July Movement of New York bestowed on Matthews the honorary title of the "Best Friend of the Cuban People."

Matthews kept up his criticism of the regime in both editorials and news articles such as the one he wrote for the Times's Sunday magazine that summer called "The Shadow Falls on Cuba's Batista." Contrary to his prediction a few months earlier that Batista would probably finish out his term in office and leave after the 1958 elections, Matthews now predicted that the end was near and that few Cubans would give Batista any chance of lasting that long. In Cuba, rebel supporters translated the article into Spanish and passed it from hand to hand throughout Havana. René Zayas Bazán, a member of the civic resistance, sent Matthews a photostatic copy of the translated article, along with a congratulatory note: "I must say you have become a sort of legendary hero for the Cubans, for they give you sole credit for having kept Batista from turning the country into another Santo Domingo by publishing Fidel's pictures when you did."

As Matthews became increasingly critical of Batista, his reports contrasted significantly with those filed by Ruby Phillips, who still doubted Castro's popularity outside Oriente Province. Matthews grew suspicious of her, noting her long friendship with Ambassador Gardner and her links to the Batista government. She, on the other hand, resented Matthews and what she perceived to be his overtly sympathetic coverage of the rebels. Also, she was uncomfortable with his dual role as reporter and editorial writer, an arrangement that concerned many people at the Times. Phillips's account of the students' assault on the palace was sober and guarded: "Cuba Recovering from Brief Rising." But Matthews's own report on the same incident, written from New York, took a decidedly negative slant: "Cuba Is Still Smoldering Under the Batista Regime." The contradictions in their reporting would confuse readers, draw the scorn of media critics, and intensify the personal animosity between Phillips and Matthews.

From the book The Man Who Invented Fidel by Anthony DePalma. Copyright © 2006. Reprinted by arrangement with Public Affairs, a member of the Perseus Books Group. All rights reserved.


There are 9 census records available for the last name Herbert Matthews. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Herbert Matthews census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

There are 1 immigration records available for the last name Herbert Matthews. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in Canada, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

There are 4 military records available for the last name Herbert Matthews. For the veterans among your Herbert Matthews ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

There are 9 census records available for the last name Herbert Matthews. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Herbert Matthews census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

There are 1 immigration records available for the last name Herbert Matthews. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in Canada, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

There are 4 military records available for the last name Herbert Matthews. For the veterans among your Herbert Matthews ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.


Herbert Matthews - History

Cuba History Timeline Events
February 17, 1957

New York Times journalist Herbert Matthews asked the US Ambassador to Cuba, Arthur Gardner, to make arrangements so he could interview Fidel Castro in his Sierra Maestra camp, which Castro had solicited though Felipe Pazos. Amb. Gardner obliged, making pre-arrangements with Batista to ensure Matthews could travel in safety and without harassment to Castro’s camp. 1 Batista himself approved the request.

On February 17 Frank País brought Matthews to the Sierra Maestra for an interview with Castro and the rebels. The interview, including pictures, was published in the Times as a three part series. It proved that Castro was not dead as the Batista government had claimed.

Mathews' report in the Times had an electrifying effect on Cuban public opinion, since he wrote of Castro “He has strong ideas of liberty, democracy, social justice, the need to restore the Constitution, to hold elections." And reported Castro signified a “new democratic deal” for Cuba and was “anti-Communist. Hundreds of highly respected citizens are helping Señor Castro, [who is offering] a new deal for Cuba, radical, democratic and therefore anti-Communist."

Mathews’ report grossly exaggerated the size and strength of rebel forces, increasing Castro's prestige and credibility among Cubans, who began to see and support the Sierra rebels as a viable force to overthrow Batista. On his April 1959 US tour Castro publicly mocked Matthews, telling an audience at the Washington Press Club how he had conned Matthews into thinking he had many more men than he did.

Matthews' egregiously distorted and propagandistic reporting of Castro is the subject of a 2006 book by Anthony DePalma: The man who invented Fidel : Cuba, Castro, and Herbert L. Matthews of The New York Times . A review of that book by Ron Radosh comments on the role Matthews desired and played in Castro’s revolution: A Dictator’s Scribe . Another review of DePalma’s book summarizes key elements of the story that Matthews’ reporting obscured and distorted, and the magnitude of the deception: Fidel’s Favorite Propagandist .

One of the most enduring fictions of Matthews’ reporting is that his travel to the Sierra was a dangerous, frightening trip through jungle, evading government troops. The reality is that having personally approved Matthews’ trip, Batista had to take exceptional measures to ensure Matthews’ safety. It would have been his worst nightmare for Matthews’ to be harmed or killed, for which he would have undoubtedly been blamed. In part for fear that the rebels had planned this, Batista not only ordered that his forces not interfere with Matthews, but also had him shadowed by scouts to protect him from attackers if necessary. As it turned out, Castro wanted him as a propagandist not a casualty to blame on Batista. So for different reasons, both armed camps were vested in Matthews’ safe journey- no reporter ever made a less dangerous trip to a guerilla war zone.


Herbert Matthews - History

Cuban Rebel Is Visited in Hideout

Castro Is Still Alive and Still Fighting in Mountains

This is the first of three articles by a correspondent of The New York Tittles who has just returned from a visit to Cuba.

Fidel Castro, the rebel leader of Cuba's youth, is alive and fighting hard and successfully in the rugged, almost impenetrable fastnesses of the Sierra Maestra at the southern tip of the island.

President Fulgencio Batista has the cream of his Army around the area, but the Army men are fighting a thus-far losing battle to destroy the most dangerous enemy General Batista has yet faced in a long and adventurous career as a Cuban leader and dictator.

This is the first sure news that Fidel Castro is still alive and still in Cuba. No one connected with the outside world, let alone with the press, has seen Senor Castro except this writer. No one in Havana, not even at the United States Embassy with its resources for getting information, will know until this report is published that Fidel Castro is really in the Sierra Maestra.

This account, among other things, will break the tightest censorship in the history of the Cuban Republic. The Province of Oriente, with its 2,000,000 inhabitants, its flourishing cities such as Santiago, Holguin and Manzanillo, is shut off from Havana as surely as if it were another country. Havana does not and cannot know that thousands of men and women are heart and soul with Fidel Castro and the new deal for which they think he stands. It does not know that hundreds of highly respected citizens are helping Senor Castro, that bombs and sabotage are constant (eighteen bombs were exploded in Santiago on Feb. 15), that a fierce Government counterterrorism has aroused the populace even more against President Batista.

Throughout Cuba a formidable movement of opposition to General Batista has been developing. It has by no means reached an explosive point. The rebels in the Sierra Maestra cannot move out. The economic situation is good. President Batista has the high officers of the Army and the police behind him and he ought to be able to hang on for the nearly two years of his present term that are still left.

However, there are bad spots in the economy, especially on the fiscal side. Unemployment is heavy corruption is rife. No one can predict anything with safety except that Cuba seems in for a very troubled period.

Fidel Castro and his 26th of July Movement are the flaming symbol of this opposition to the regime. The organization, which is apart from the university students' opposition, is formed of youths of all kinds. It is a revolutionary movement that calls itself socialistic. It is also nationalistic, which generally in Latin America means anti-Yankee.

The program is vague and couched in generalities, but it amounts to a new deal for Cuba, radical, democratic and therefore anti-Communist. The real core of its strength is that it is fighting against the military dictatorship of President Batista.

To arrange for me to penetrate the Sierra Maestra and meet Fidel Castro, dozens of men and women in Havana and Oriente Province ran a truly terrible risk. They must, of course, be protected with the utmost care in these articles for their lives would be forfeit-after the customary torture-immediately if any could be traced. Consequently, no names are used here, the places are disguised and many details of the elaborate, dangerous trail in and out of the Sierra Maestra must be omitted.

From the looks of things, General Batista cannot possibly hope to suppress the Castro revolt. His only hope is that an Army column will come upon the young rebel leader and his staff and wipe them out. This is hardly likely to happen, if at all, before March 1, when the present suspension of constitutional guarantees is supposed to end.

Fidel Castro is the son of a Spaniard from Galicia, a "Gallego" like Generalissimo Francisco Franco. The father was a pick-and-shovel laborer early in this century for the United Fruit Company, whose sugar plantations are on the northern shores of Oriente Province. A powerful build, a capacity for hard work and a shrewd mind led the father up in the world until he became a rich sugar planter himself When he died last year each of his children, including Fidel, inherited a sizeable fortune.

Flight to U. S. and Mexico

Someone who knew the family remembers Fidel as a child of 4 or 5 years, living a sturdy farm life. The father sent him to school and the University of Havana, where he studied law and became one of the student opposition leaders who rebelled against General Batista in 1952 because the General had staged a garrison revolt and prevented the presidential elections of that year.

Fidel had to flee from Cuba in 1955 and he lived for a while in New York and Miami. The year 1956, he announced, was to be the "year of decision." Before the year ended, he said, he would be "a hero or a martyr."

The Government knew that he had gone to Mexico and last summer was training a body of youths who had left Cuba to join him. As the end of the year approached the Cuban Army was very much on the alert, knowing that something would be tried and that Fidel Castro was coming back. He was already, in a measure, a hero of the Cuban youth, for on July 26, 1953, he had led a band of youths in a desperate attack on the Moncada Barracks in Santiago de Cuba.

In the fighting then about 100 students and soldiers were killed but the revolt failed. The Archbishop of Santiago, Msgr. Enrique Perez Serantes, intervened to minimize the bloodshed and got Senor Castro and others to surrender on promises of a fair trial. Fidel Castro was sentenced to fifteen years in prison but there was an amnesty at the time of the Presidential elections of Nov. 1, 1954, and he was let out. It was then he crossed to the continent and began to organize the 26th of July Movement. It is under this banner that the youth of Cuba are now fighting the Batista regime.

The blow, which at the time seemed an utter failure, was struck on Dec. 2, 1956. That day a 62-foot diesel-engined yacht, the Gramma, landed eighty-two young men, trained for two months on a ranch in Mexico, on the Oriente shore below Niquero at a spot called Playa Colorada. The idea had been to land at Niquero, recruit followers and lead an open attack against the Government. However, the Gramma had been spotted by a Cuban naval patrol boat. Planes flew in to strafe and the men on the yacht decided to beach her.

Playa Colorada, unhappily for the invaders, was a treacherous swamp. The men lost their food and most of their arms and supplies and soon were being attacked by army units. They scattered and took to the hills. Many were killed. Of the eighty-two no more than fifteen or twenty were left after a few days.

President Batista and his aides were remarkably successful from then on in hiding what happened. The youths they captured were forced to sign statements saying that they had been told Fidel Castro was on the Gramma with them but that they had never seen him. Thus doubt was cast that he had ever come to Cuba.

Because of the complete censorship, Havana and the other Cuban cities crackle with the most astonishing rumors one constantly encouraged by the Government has been that Fidel Castro is dead. Only those fighting with him and those who had faith and hope knew or thought he was alive-and those who knew were very few and in the utmost peril of their lives if their knowledge was traced.

This was the situation when the writer got to Havana on Feb. 9 to try to find out what was really happening. The censorship has been applied to foreign correspondents as well as Cuban. What everybody, even those who wanted to believe, kept asking was: "If Fidel is alive, why does he not do or say something to show that he is?" Since Dec. 2 he had kept absolutely quiet-or he was dead.

As I learned later, Senor Castro was waiting until he had his forces reorganized and strengthened and had mastery of the Sierra Maestra. This fortunately coincided with my arrival and he had sent word out to a trusted source in Havana that he wanted a foreign correspondent to come in. The contact knew as soon as I arrived and got in touch with me. Because of the state of siege, it had to be someone who would get the story and go out of Cuba to write it.

Then came a week of organization. A rendezvous point and a time had to be fixed and arrangements made to get through the Government lines into the Sierra Maestra.

After the first few weeks the Army had given out the report that the remnants of Senor Castro's forces were being starved out in the Sierra. In reality the Army had ringed the Sierra with fortified posts and columns of troops and had every road under heavy guard. The reports reaching Havana that frequent clashes were taking place and that the Government troops were losing heavily proved true.

Arrangements for Interview

The first problem was to get through the Government road blocks and reach a nearby town that would be a jumping off place. Late on the afternoon of Friday, Feb. 15, Senor Castro's contact man got in touch with me in Havana with the news that the meeting was set for the following night in the Sierra and that Senor Castro and his staff would take the chance of coming a little way toward the edge of the range so that I would not have to do too much climbing. There are no roads there, and where we were to meet, no horses could go.

To get from Havana to Oriente (more than 500 miles away) on time meant driving all night and the next morning, so as to be ready Saturday afternoon to start for the Sierra.

The plan worked out to get through the Army's road blocks in Oriente was as simple as it was effective. We took my wife along in the car as "camouflage." Cuba is at the height of the tourist season and nothing could have looked more innocent than a middle-aged couple of American tourists driving down to Cuba's most beautiful and fertile province with some young friends. The guards would take one look at my wife, hesitate a second, and wave us on with friendly smiles. If we were to be questioned a story was prepared for them. If we were searched the jig would be up.

In that way we reached the house of a sympathizer of Senor Castro outside the Sierra. There my wife was to stay amid warm hospitality, and no questions asked. I got into the clothes I had purchased in Havana "fora fishing trip," warm for the cold night air of the mountains and dark for camouflage.

After nightfall I was taken to a certain house where three youths who were going in with me had gathered. One of them was "One of the Eighty-two, " a proud phrase for the survivors of the original landing. I was to meet five or six of them. A courier who owned an open, Army-type jeep, joined us.

His news was bad. A Government patrol of four soldiers in a jeep had placed itself on the very road we had to take to get near the point where we were to meet the Castro scouts at midnight. Moreover, there had been a very heavy rain in the Sierra in the afternoon and the road was a morass. The others impressed on him that Fidel Castro wanted me in there at all costs and somehow it had to be done.

The courier agreed reluctantly. All across the plain of Oriente Province there are flat lands with sugar and rice plantations, and such farms have innumerable crisscrossing dirt roads. The courier knew every inch of the terrain and figured that by taking a very circuitous route he could bring us close enough.

We had to go through one Army roadblock and beyond that would be the constant risk of Army patrols, so we had to have a good story ready. I was to be an American sugar planter who could not speak a word of Spanish and who was going out to look over a plantation in a certain village. One of the youths, who spoke English, was my "interpreter." The others made up similar fictions.

Before leaving one of the men showed me a wad of bills (the Cuban peso is exactly the same size and value as the United States dollar) amounting, apparently, to 400 pesos, which was being sent in to Senor Castro. With a "rich" American planter, it would be natural for the group to have the money if we were searched. It was interesting evidence that Fidel Castro paid for everything he took from the guajiros, or squatter farmers, of the Sierra.

Our story convinced the Army guard when he stopped us, although he looked dubious for a little while. Then came hours of driving, through sugar-cane and rice fields, across rivers that only jeeps could manage. One stretch, the courier said, was heavily patrolled by Government troops but we were lucky and saw none. Finally, after slithering through miles of mud we could go no farther.

It was then midnight, the time we were to meet Castro's scouts but we had to walk some first and it was hard going. At last we turned off the road and slid down a hillside to where a stream, dark brown under the nearly full moon, rushed its muddy way. One of the boys slipped and fell full length in the icy cold water. 1 waded through with the water almost to my knees and that was hard enough to do without falling. Fifty yards tip the other slope was the meeting point.

The patrol was not there. Three of us waited while two of the men went back to see if we had missed the scouts somewhere, but in fifteen minutes they us ahead, returned frustrated. The courier suggested that we might move up a bit and he led but obviously did not know where to go. Senor Castro's men have a characteristic signal that I was to hear incessantly-two low, soft, toneless whistles. One of our men kept trying it, but with no success.

After awhile, we gave up. We had kept under cover at all times, for the moonlight was strong, and we knew there were troops around us.

We stopped in a heavy clump of trees and bushes, dripping from the rain, the ground under foot heavily matted, muddy and soaked. There we sat for a whispered confab. The courier, and another youth who had fought previously with Castro, said they would go up the mountainside and see if they could find any of the rebel troops.

Three of us were to wait, a rather agonizing wait of more than two hours, crouched in the mud, not daring to talk or move, trying to snatch a little sleep with our heads on our knees and annoyed maddeningly by the swarms of mosquitoes that were having the feast of their lives.

At last we heard a cautious, welcome double-whistle. One of us replied in kind and this had to be kept up for a while, like two groups meeting in a dense fog, until we got together. One of our party had found an advance patrol and a scout came with him to lead us to an outpost in the mountains.

The scout was a squatter from the hills, and he needed to know every inch of the land to take us as he did, swiftly and unerringly across fields, up steep hills, floundering in the mud.

The ground leveled out blessedly at last and then dipped suddenly. The scout stopped and whistled cautiously. The return whistle came. There was a short parley and we were motioned on, sliding down into a heavy grove. The dripping leaves and boughs, the dense vegetation, the mud underfoot, the moonlight-all gave the impression of a tropical forest, more like Brazil than Cuba.

Senor Castro was encamped some distance away and a soldier went to announce our arrival and ask whether he would join us or we should join him. Later he came back with the grateful news that we were to wait and Fidel would come along with the dawn. Someone gave me a few soda crackers, which tasted good. Someone else stretched a blanket on the ground and it seemed a great luxury. It was too dark in the grove to see anything.

We spoke in the lowest possible whispers. One man told me how he had seen his brother's store wrecked and burned by Government troops and his brother dragged out and executed. "I'd rather be here, fighting for Fidel, than anywhere in the world now," he said.

There were two hours before dawn, and the blanket made it possible to sleep.

With the light I could see bow young they all were. Senor Castro, according to his followers, is 30, and that is old for the 26th of July Movement. It has a motley array of arms and uniforms, and even a few civilian suits. The rifle and the one machinegun I saw were all American--discarded models.

The captain of this troop was a stocky Negro with a black heard and mustache, a ready, brilliant smile and a willingness for publicity. Of all I met, only he wanted his name mentioned-Juan Almeida, "One of the Eighty-two. "

Several of the youths had lived in the United States and spoke English others had learned it at school. One had been a professional baseball player in a minor league and his wife is still in the United States. [Camilo Cienfuegos]

Logistics of Rebellion

The part of the Sierra we were in grows no food. "Sometimes we eat sometimes not," one rebel said. On the whole, they obviously keep healthy. Supporters send in food the farmers help trusted couriers go out and buy supplies, which the storekeepers sell them at great risk and against Government orders.

Raul Castro, Fidel's younger brother, slight and pleasant, came into the camp with others of the staff, and a few minutes later Fidel himself strode in. Taking him, as one would at first, by physique and personality, this was quite a man---a powerful six-footer, olive-skinned, full-faced, with a straggly beard. He was dressed in an olive gray fatigue uniform and carried a rifle with a telescopic sight, of which he was very proud. It seems his men have something more than fifty of these and he said the soldiers feared them.

"We can pick them off at a thousand yards with these guns," he said.

After some general conversation we went to my blanket and sat down. Someone brought tomato juice, ham sandwiches made with crackers and tins of coffee. In honor of the occasion, Senor Castro broke open a box of good Havana cigars and for the next three hours we sat there while he talked.

No one could talk above a whisper at any time. There were columns of Government troops all around us, Senor Castro said, and their one hope was to catch him and his band.

The personality of the man is overpowering. It was easy to see that his men adored him and also to see why he has caught the imagination of the youth of Cuba all over the island. Here was an educated, dedicated fanatic, a man of ideals, of courage and of remarkable qualities of leadership.

As the story unfolded of how he had at first gathered the few remnants of the Eighty-two around him kept the Government troops at bay while youths came in from other parts of Oriente as General Batista's counter-terrorism aroused them got arms and supplies and then began the series of raids and counter-attacks of guerrilla warfare, one got a feeling that he is now invincible. Perhaps he isn't, but that is the faith he inspires in his followers.

They have had many fights, and inflicted many losses, Senor Castro said. Government planes came over and bombed every day in fact, at 9 sharp a plane did fly over. The troops took up positions a man in a white shirt was hastily covered up. But the plane went on to bomb higher in the mountains.

Castro is a great talker. His brown eyes flash his intense face is pushed close to the listener and the whispering voice, as in a stage play lends a vivid sense of drama.

"We have been fighting for seventy-nine days now and are stronger than ever," Senor Castro said. "The soldiers are fighting badly their morale is low and ours could not be higher. We are killing many, but when we take prisoners they are never shot. We question them, talk kindly to them, take their arms and equipment, and then set them free.

"I know that they are always arrested afterward and we heard some were shot as examples to the others, but they don't want to fight, and they don't know how to fight this kind of mountain warfare. We do."

"The Cuban people hear on the radio all about Algeria, but they never hear a word about us or read a word, thanks to the censorship. You will be the first to tell them. I have followers all over the island. All the best elements, especially all the youth, are with us. The Cuban people will stand anything but oppression."

I asked him about the report that he was going to declare a revolutionary government in the Sierra.

"Not yet," he replied. "The time is not ripe. I will make myself known at the opportune moment. It will have all the more effect for the delay, for now everybody is talking about us. We are sure of ourselves.

"There is no hurry. Cuba is in a state of war, but Batista is hiding it. A dictatorship must show that it is omnipotent or it will fall we are showing that it is impotent."

The Government, he said with some bitterness, is using arms furnished by the United States, not only against him but against all the Cuban people."

"They have bazookas, mortars, machine guns, planes and bombs," he said, "but we are safe here in the Sierra they must come and get us, and they cannot."

Senor Castro speaks some English, but he preferred to talk in Spanish, which he did with extraordinary eloquence. His is a political mind rather than a military one. He has strong ideas of liberty, democracy, social justice, the need to restore the Constitution, to hold elections. He has strong ideas on economy, too, but an economist would consider them weak.

The 26th of July Movement talks of nationalism, anti-colonialism, anti-imperialism. I asked Senor Castro about that. He answered, "You can be sure we have no animosity toward the United States and the American people."

"Above all," he said, "we are fighting for a democratic Cuba and an end to the dictatorship. We are not anti-military that is why we let the soldier prisoners go. There is no hatred of the Army as such, for we know the men are good and so are many of the officers."

"Batista has 3,000 men in the field against us. I will not tell you how many we have, for obvious reasons. He works in columns of 200 we in groups of ten to forty, and we are winning. It is a battle against time and time is on our side."

Confident of Financing

To show that he deals fairly with the guajiros he asked someone to bring "the cash." A soldier brought a bundle wrapped in dark brown cloth, which Senor Castro unrolled. There was a stack of peso bills at least a foot high-about $4,000 he said, adding that he had all the money he needed and could get more.

"Why should soldiers die for Batista for $72 a month?" he asked. "When we win, we will give them $100 a month, and they will serve a free, democratic Cuba."

"I am always in the front line," he said and others confirmed this fact. Such being the case, the Army might yet get him, but in present circumstances he seems almost invulnerable.

"They never know where we are," he said as the group arose to say good-by, "but we always know where they are. You have taken quite a risk in coming here, but we have the whole area covered, and we will get you out safely."

They did. We ploughed our way back through the muddy undergrowth in broad daylight, but always keeping under cover. The scout went like a homing pigeon through woods and across fields where there were no paths straight to a farmer's house on the edge of the Sierra. There we hid in a back room while someone borrowed a horse and went for the jeep, which had been under cover all night.

There was one road block to get through with an Army guard so suspicious our hearts sank, but he let us through.

After that, washed, shaved and looking once again like an American tourist, with my wife as "camouflage," we had no trouble driving back through the road blocks to safety and then on to Havana. So far as anyone knew, we had been away fishing for the week-end, and no one bothered us as we took the plane to New York.


There are 9 census records available for the last name Herbert Matthews. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Herbert Matthews census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

There are 1 immigration records available for the last name Herbert Matthews. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in the UK, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

There are 4 military records available for the last name Herbert Matthews. For the veterans among your Herbert Matthews ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

There are 9 census records available for the last name Herbert Matthews. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Herbert Matthews census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

There are 1 immigration records available for the last name Herbert Matthews. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in the UK, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

There are 4 military records available for the last name Herbert Matthews. For the veterans among your Herbert Matthews ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.


The Man Who Invented Fidel: Herbert L. Matthews of The New York Times and the Creation of Castro's Cuba

This is the perfect example of how news can affect the shape and course of history.

Although it is arguable whether Fidel Castro could&aposve triumphed when he did against the Batista regime without the timely help of The New York Times&aposs Herbert L. Matthews, the fact remains that Matthews was instrumental in creating a legend, resurrecting Castro with a vengeance after rumors of his death had been confirmed by Batista&aposs government.

This is the story of the strange relationship between a journalist, This is the perfect example of how news can affect the shape and course of history.

Although it is arguable whether Fidel Castro could've triumphed when he did against the Batista regime without the timely help of The New York Times's Herbert L. Matthews, the fact remains that Matthews was instrumental in creating a legend, resurrecting Castro with a vengeance after rumors of his death had been confirmed by Batista's government.

This is the story of the strange relationship between a journalist, the newspaper he worked for, a young rebel turned dictator, and the American public opinion.

It is a thorough study of all the elements that come together to influence events and it is on a league of its own in its genre, its treatment of the subject matter and its principal players, and the careful balance it strikes between what actually happened, what people involved in this story think happened, and how people looking on from the outside perceived what has happening. . more

Veteran international journalist Anthony DePalma offers an excellent analysis and reconstruction of NYT correspondent/martyr, Herbert L. Matthews, the man who allegedly “invented” the Fidel Castro Americans loved to hate. Of course, Castro existed as a Cuban fire-eater long before Matthews’ “discovery,” and would have been a force of power in some form without Matthews or the Times. But it was the confluence of a rebel with a cause and a reporter in search of a rebellion that sparked a personal Veteran international journalist Anthony DePalma offers an excellent analysis and reconstruction of NYT correspondent/martyr, Herbert L. Matthews, the man who allegedly “invented” the Fidel Castro Americans loved to hate. Of course, Castro existed as a Cuban fire-eater long before Matthews’ “discovery,” and would have been a force of power in some form without Matthews or the Times. But it was the confluence of a rebel with a cause and a reporter in search of a rebellion that sparked a personal bond that – like John Reed in Russia – would shake the world.

DePalma is correct in writing that power, not Communism, was the basis of The Cuban Story. Castro’s power over Cuba, equated with its national and economic sovereignty from the beginning, inevitably clashed with an imperial US that just as strongly believed in its rightful sovereignty over the Western Hemisphere. Castro turned to the Communists and Moscow in the same manner his opponents turned to the CIA and Washington: “la lucha continua” - the struggle must continue. DePalma does take the US and its representatives to task for allying with Batista’s corrupt regime, and for bungling the Bay of Pigs but he shies away from the reasons for this. American policy in Cuba, and Latin American generally, has always been self-serving. If Castro led Cuba into a dead end in the name of Communism, the US offered no alternative other than civil war and foreign occupation and calling it Democracy.

I’ve read Matthews’ books and in truth they stand up better with time than either admirers like C. Wright Mills, or detractors like NYT colleague, R(uby) Hart Phillips. DePalma contrasts the biases of Phillips and Matthews, whose personal backgrounds couldn’t have been more diverse. Their knife-on-knife professional antagonism holds a key as to why Matthews clung to his rock-ribbed position on the Revolution: Castro had become a personal symbol of resistance. DePalma says as much in writing that Matthews cultivated the “idea of Fidel,” while slighting the real deeds of the real man. So did Phillips, and all the cohort of Fidel fans and Castro-bashers to the present day. It’s at each other these journalists joust, with Castro as proxy. Fidel’s divide and rule worked as well in New York as in Washington, Moscow, or Havana.

The US has, in practice, little use for dissidents from the established consensus. The US press treated Matthews as a renegade, as Pravda did Solzhenitsyn, or Castro himself pilloried Heberto Padilla. Though he wasn’t thrown in jail, nor exiled, nor slandered before Congress as a “Red agent” as in McCarthy days, Matthews’ professional ethics and personal integrity remained under constant attack for the rest of his life. And not just from rightwingers in Miami or J. Edgar Hoover or “The National Review”. Even alleged liberals used him as a covering scapegoat: “better him than us.” Take warning from Matthews and don’t identify with America’s enemies be willing to change your views if “consensus” demands it bend or be broken. The US media has learned its lesson well and you, good reader, have two dead-end wars in Iraq and an endless jihad on terror thanks to your Free Press. Fidel Castro was not responsible for these, no matter how many promises unkept to the peasant family guiding DePalma to the Interview shrine of the Sierra. . more

The book itself is a pleasure to be read. DePalma certainly knows how to entertain the reader by giving the essential details and leaving some signs that "things will happen soon" that helps to keep the reading enjoyable.

Regarding the factual story, I guess it&aposs a fairly impartial book on Matthews&apos life. His whole story is portrayed as him would like to see, and as he lived for it.

What I&aposve learnt the most is how actually the &aposfreedom&apos in the US, and here I&aposm refering to the culture, not State The book itself is a pleasure to be read. DePalma certainly knows how to entertain the reader by giving the essential details and leaving some signs that "things will happen soon" that helps to keep the reading enjoyable.

Regarding the factual story, I guess it's a fairly impartial book on Matthews' life. His whole story is portrayed as him would like to see, and as he lived for it.

What I've learnt the most is how actually the 'freedom' in the US, and here I'm refering to the culture, not State, isn't something quite literal, and its dissidents aren't that well received. How the Times handled the whole situation was, at least, unfair. DePalma gracefully exposes how the relationship between media and government in US works.
For me, a brazilian young student that just read a bit about coups in Latin America from brazilian US-influenced media, it was really enlightening. After all, Brazil wasn't the only target and victim of US "good neighbourhood" politics. Our dictartorship lasted for decades. So I can really empathize how Matthews, Fidel and the cubans felt regarding the American Imperialism and how it operates actually dictating the ways of living in pretty much all over Latin America.

TLDR: A great piece of information of how American press is reasonable tied with the country government's interest on foreign politics. Also a great story of myths and men. . more

About the Author: The author is a reporter for the New York Times and is married to a Cuban woman.

Overview: The tyrant named Fidel Castro could not have taken control of Cuba and enslaved its population without the help of naive journalists like Herbert L Matthews of The New York Times. Matthews was scrupulously honest about manners of fact it was his judgment that was flawed. Matthews spent the remainder of his life writing books to justify his role in the Cuban revolution. He never admitted t About the Author: The author is a reporter for the New York Times and is married to a Cuban woman.

Overview: The tyrant named Fidel Castro could not have taken control of Cuba and enslaved its population without the help of naive journalists like Herbert L Matthews of The New York Times. Matthews was scrupulously honest about manners of fact it was his judgment that was flawed. Matthews spent the remainder of his life writing books to justify his role in the Cuban revolution. He never admitted that Fidel Castro had been basically a bad thing for the Cuban people.

Italian Invasion of Ethiopia: In his reporting for The New York Times on Mussolini’s invasion of Ethiopia, Herbert Matthews was sympathetic with Mussolini’s Fascists.

Spanish Civil War: Herbert Matthews reported on the Spanish Civil War for The New York Times. Here he became a friend of Ernest Hemingway. Matthews was sympathetic to the Loyalists, who were fighting against Franco’s Fascists.

Editorial Board: In the 1950s, Matthews left field work and joined the editorial board at The New York Times, focusing on Latin America.

Castro’s Rebels Land at Oriente: On December 2, 1956, rebel forces, lead by Fidel Castro, landed on Las Coloradas Beach in Oriente Province. Planes of the Cuban air force bombed and strafed Castro’s forces on the beach. A United Press reporter talked with a Cuban pilot, who told him that Fidel Castro had been killed. Cuban Dictator Fulgencio Batista and the Cuban army announced that Fidel Castro had been killed.

Batista Imposes Press Censorship: On January 15, 1957, Fulgencio Batista imposed a 45-day period of press censorship regarding rebel activities. On January 18, Matthews wrote an editorial in The New York Times complaining about the press censorship.

Reporter Shopping: Fidel Castro and and the other survivors had made their way up the Sierra Maestra mountains. Fidel Castro sent his men Javier Pazos and René Rodríguez to Havana to seek an American reporter to report that Fidel was still alive. Javier’s father, Felipe Pazos, knew Ruby Phillips, the New York Times correspondent in Cuba. Ruby Phillips knew that she would be deported by Batista if she interviewed Castro herself, so she asked her newspaper to send someone else.

Matthews Interviews Fidel Castro: The New York Times sent Herbert Matthews to interview Fidel Castro. Matthews and his wife Nancie flew to Cuba, pretending to be on holiday, so Batista would not suspect them. In February 1957, in the Sierra Maestra Mountains, Herbert Matthews interviewed rebel leader Fidel Castro for three hours, in Spanish. Matthews even got his picture taken with Fidel Castro, proving that Castro was still alive. The newspaper published three front-page articles based on the interview. Matthews presented Castro as a romantic figure and took him at his word that he would replace Batista’s corrupt dictatorship with a democracy.

Student University Federation: Back in Havana, after meeting with Fidel, Matthews met with one of Fidel’s rivals, José Antonio Echeverría. Echeverría was head of the Student University Federation, which had more followers than Fidel Castro. Echeverría was hoping to assassinate Batista. Later, Echeverría actually made a failed assassination attempt, and was killed.

Revolución and Carlos Franqui: Carlos Franqui was editor-in-chief of the anti-Batista newspaper Revolución, which reprinted Matthews interview. The interview was distributed throughout Havana.

Mario Llerena: Mario Llerena, head of the Committee for Cultural Freedom, flew to New York City, from where he mailed several thousand copies of Matthews’ three New York Times articles to prominent people in Havana. While in New York, Llerena met with Matthews and with CBS reporter Robert Taber.

CBS News: In April 1957, CBS News filmed an interview with Fidel Castro conducted by Robert Taber, and edited by Don Hewitt. The program, "Rebels of the Sierra Maestra: The Story of Cuba’s Jungle Fighters," ran in May 1957.

Homer Bigart Goes to Cuba: In 1958, The New York Times sent veteran reporter Homer Bigart to Cuba, because they felt that Matthews was not objective.

Castro Gains Power: On January 1, 1959, Fulgencio Batista fled Cuba, and Castro’s rebels captured Havana. When Fidel Castro started executing his opponents, Matthews, while not explicitly endorsing the executions, sympathetically presented Castro’s case that the executions were necessary. . more


Contents

The grandson of Jewish immigrants, Matthews was born and raised on Riverside Drive in the Upper West Side of Manhattan. He volunteered for the Army near the end of World War I and graduated from Columbia College of Columbia University. He subsequently joined the New York Times and reported from Europe during the Spanish Civil War. ΐ]

His coverage of that war and later the Cuban political situation were subject to substantial criticism for showing communist sympathies, a charge Matthews rejected for years. He also reported during the Italian conquest of Ethiopia in 1936 and then wrote Eyewitness in Abyssinia: With Marshal Bodoglio's forces to Addis Ababa in 1937. During this time, he remarked that he viewed history as a series of scrimmages for which he picked a favorite side, regardless of morals or values. He admitted: "the right or the wrong of it did not interest me greatly." Α] This contributed to him being labeled a fascist.


Matthew Herbert

The building blocks for his music are often random people's noises. Percussion sounds are manufactured out of sources as a heart or an unborn child (Herbert abhors drum machines). The sounds of everyday life is not only the source but also the meaning of his art.

A student of drama at Exeter University, Herbert started sampling found sounds as a way to create realistic soundtracks for his plays. Soon, he would entertain with live shows in which the sounds were created out of everyday objects and the environment. Eventually, he started applying the same technique to the dance floor.

He relocated to London in 1994 and in january of 1996 released the three EPs that marked the directions of his career: Wishmountain's Radio (ambient and techno), Doctor Rockit's Ready To Rockit (jazzy electro) and Herbert's Part One (house). In a little over four years, Herbert would release 25 singles and 4 albums, and become a fashionable disc jockey and producer.

Doctor Rockit released the EPs D For Doctor (Clear) and Recorded In Swingtime (Clear), the singles Pockit Doctor (Clear) and Pager (Multiplex), and the albums The Music of Sound (Clear, 1996), Indoor Fireworks (Lifelike, 2000), with Cafe' de Flore, and the compilation The Unnecessary History (Accidental, 2004), all devoted to domestic vignettes.

On The Music of Sound (Clear), tracks such as Cafe Beograd and Hong Kong evoke the experiences which created them the rattling glasses, accordion fragments, and vocal snippets reconstruct these places in musical form. Simpler compositions like Granny Delicious and Runner in Hastings Park create engaging rhythms and melodies from the ubiquitous sounds of everyday life. On Song Without Words, the bare and lonely arrangement of Fender Rhodes and saxophone sketch out a scene which resolves itself later in Song Without Italian Words, where the same music is played in a cafe in Italy, complete with conversational snippets, clattering dishes, and church bells ringing in the distance.

Wishmountain has released the EPs Video (Universal Language) and Bottle (Antiphon) and the album Wishmountain Is Dead (Antiphon, 1998), his most experimental work, which utilizes found noises to create dance music.

Radio Boy has released Long Live Radio Boy (Antiphon, 1997), another abstract soundpainting, Lift Attendants Holiday (Antiphon), London (Antiphon), Sight Of Sound (Antiphon).

Herbert released the EPs Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5 and the albums Parts 1-3 (Phono) and the all-instrumental album 100lbs (Phono, 1996 - K7, 2006), that collected his house music. More EPs followed: Birds (Back To Basics), Got To Be Movin' (Classic), Going Round (Phonography), Never Give Up (Phonography), So Now (Phonography), Live Dubs (Phonography), Back To The Start (Plug Research), We All Need Love (Phonography). The album Around The House (Phonography, 1998), that used the sounds of household objects, featured the first songs.

In 2000 Herbert published an artistic manifesto in which he proclaimed his loathe of sampling (of other people's music) and of drum machines.

Matthew Herbert, un dj e produttore inglese di modern house noto anche come Radio Boy, Wishmountain, Doctor Rockit, condivide con i Matmos l'onore di aver aperto la strada all'uso dei campionamenti "organici" (rumori, non strumenti) per comporre la musica.

Le fondamenta per la sua musica sono spesso costituite dai rumori casuali della gente. I suoni percussivi non sono prodotti in maniera convenzionale ma con un battito cardiaco o con un bambino ancora nel ventre materno (Herbert aborrisce la batteria elettronica). I suoni della vita di ogni giorno rappresentano non solo la fonte ma anche il significato della sua arte.

Studente di arte drammatica alla Exeter University, Herbert ha cominciato a campionare suoni scoperti per caso come un modo per creare una colonna sonora realistica per i suoi drammi. Presto, l'artista avrebbe cominciato ad esibirsi in shows dal vivo in cui i suoni erano prodotti avvalendosi di oggetti che si utilizzano tutti i giorni. Alla fine, l'artista ha cominciato ad applicare la stessa tecnica alla dance floor.

Herbert è tornato a Londra nel 1994 e nel gennaio del 1996 ha realizzato i tre EPs che hanno dato un orientatamento alla sua carriera: Radio come Wishmountain (ambient e techno), Ready To Rockit come Doctor Rockit (jazzy electro) e Part One come Herbert (house). In poco più di quattro anni, Herbert è stato in grado di realizzare 25 singoli e 4 albums, ed è diventato un disc jockey e produttore alla moda.

Doctor Rockit ha realizzato gli EPs D For Doctor (Clear) e Recorded In Swingtime (Clear), i singoli Pockit Doctor (Clear) e Pager (Multiplex), ed infine gli albums The Music of Sound (Clear) e Indoor Fireworks (Lifelike).

The Music of Sound (Clear) Cafe Beograd e Hong Kong rievocano le sperimentazioni che li hanno creati bicchieri tintinnanti, frammenti di armonia e ritagli vocali ricostruiscono queste situazioni in forma musicale. Più semplicemente, composizioni come Granny Delicious e Runner in Hastings Park creano affascinati ritmi e melodie a partire dagli onnipresenti suoni della vita cotidiana. Con Song Without Words, lo scarno e solitario arrangiamento di Fender Rhodes e di sassofono abbozza una situazione che si risolve solo più tardi in Song Without Italian Words, in cui la stessa musica è suonata in un caffè in Italia e completata con ritagli di conversazione, acciottolio di stoviglie e campane che risuonano in lontananza.

Wishmountain ha realizzato gli EPs Video (Universal Language) e Bottle (Antiphon) e l'album Wishmountain Is Dead (Antiphon).

Radio Boy ha realizzato Long Live Radio Boy (Antiphon), Lift Attendants Holiday (Antiphon), London (Antiphon), Sight Of Sound (Antiphon).

Herbert ha dato alle stampe gli EPs Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5 e gli album Parts 1-3 (Phono) e 100lbs (Phono, 1996 - K7, 2006), che raccoglie gli EPs di house music, cui hanno fatto seguito una serie di EPs: Birds (Back To Basics), Got To Be Movin' (Classic), Going Round (Phonography), Never Give Up (Phonography), So Now (Phonography), Live Dubs (Phonography), Back To The Start (Plug Research), Around The House (Phonography), We All Need Love (Phonography).

On Goodbye Swingtime (Accidental, 2003) Herbert leads a Matthew Herbert Big Band (four trumpets, four trombones, five saxes, piano, bass, drums) through a program of old and new compositions, helped by conductor/composer/arranger Peter Wraight. The music was manipulated electronically by Herbert after the fact. The result is relatively conventional, closer to Harry Mancini than Gil Evans or Russell, and including several romantic ballads.

Plat du Jour (Accidental, 2005), his most political statement yet, is a mostly instrumental work that samples his various styles without succeeding at any.

Ruby Blue (Echo, 2005), credited only to Roisin Murphy, but de facto a collaboration between Herbert and Moloko singer Roisin Murphy, was Matthew Herbert's first venture into dance-floor music.

The songs of Scale (2006), his first accomplished album in five years, were built from samples of more than 600 objects (Just Once alone uses 177 sampled sounds), but, as stated in his 2000 manifesto, he refrained from simply sampling instruments. Each melody and rhythm is meticulously constructed in the studio. Even the ubiquitous "strings" are not strings at all. And, still, the result is a body of the most robust and cohesive dance songs of his career, each propelled with bouncing beats and peppered with catchy melodies. It is "lite" electronica, but nonetheless the orchestrations of The Movers and the Shakers (that harkens back to the age of funky-soul), Something Isn't Right (almost a tribute to Diana Ross and early disco-music) and Moving Like A Train (whose vocal harmonies almost match The Audience's) compare favorably with the post-modernist disco inventions of Peter Gordon. The deconstructions that remain at an abstract level, such as Harmonise (vocal side of the equation) and We're in Love (orchestral side of the equation) and Just Once (soundsculpting side of the equation), are no less intriguing than the fully realized songs. The agit-prop tirades are a nuisance, but they do not interfere too much with Herbert's madcap collage. Herbert finally returned to his specialty, and crafted an electronic tour de force, although five songs too long.


Watch the video: Matthew Herbert - Its Only DJ Koze Remix (January 2022).