To Have Been There Then Book Launch w/ Gregory & Margaret Randal

Sun, 08 January 2017 // 06:00 PM
Bowery Poetry, 308 Bowery, NYC (map)

The Operating System is thrilled and honored to present this very special evening of reading and conversation with Gregory Randall, author of "To Have Been There Then," a memoir of growing up in revolutionary Cuba, with Margaret Randall, his mother and translator of the book from its original Spanish. The event will be moderated by Lynne DeSilva-Johnson, OS Founder/Managing Editor.

The book is currently available for preorder here:

Advance praise for To Have Been There Then:

“Gregory Randall grew up in revolutionary Cuba. He left in 1983, and later he and his wife Laura relocated to Uruguay and Gregory established himself within the academic world there. Revolutionary Cuba’s literacy campaign in 1960-61, which sent young people into the mountains during a period that included the Bay of Pigs invasion, is generally recognized. Cuba’s far flung medical assistance in situations like the recent Haitian earthquake is also well-known. This book explores the more comprehensive Cuban effort to create what the Zapatistas call un otro mundo, another world. I know of no other book that so richly provides an empathetic view of the twentieth-century socialist project from both within and without. —Staughton Lynd

“To Have Been There Then is an extraordinary book. Gregory Randall recreates scenes from a revolutionary childhood and youth in Mexico and Cuba during the 1960s and 70s with brilliant vividness that brings an adult’s wisdom to the child’s perspective. He evokes the spirit of revolutionary consciousness of the era, when Cuba’s radical experimentation and commitment to building a new world intersected with revolutionary dreams and movements throughout Latin America. Randall’s childhood was peopled with artists, intellectuals, and revolutionaries from throughout the continent who shared a deep belief in the possibility for radical social change. Cuba’s revolutionary history is told here with verve and drama, through personal detail of a child and young man coming of age in truly historic circumstances.” --Aviva Chomsky, author of The Cuban Revolution, co-editor of The Cuba Reader: History, Culture, Politics.

“Here is the perfect book for this time of change in US-Cuban relations, and when a new generation in the United States has embraced the idea and goals of socialism and human solidarity. Gregory Randall’s exquisite coming of age story, set in Cuba during the second decade of the Cuban Revolution, is unflinchingly truthful and compassionate.” - Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, historian and author most recently of An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States.

“Gregory Randall has done it: written a captivating, ethically humane, and inspirational memoir of growing up in revolutionary Cuba as a child of exiled political activists. He is able to tell forthright yet loving stories of his engaged life with multiple fathers, escaping the 1968 military crackdown in Mexico as an eight year-old in charge of his younger siblings, forging friendships in Cuban boarding schools, and living his adolescence as an intellectual and political coming-of-age banquet among artists and revolutionaries from across the continent. He sees dogma and cant yet remains deeply committed to the vision of a liberated space and new women and men. Read this powerful book and be stirred anew to live fully in harmony with your values.” -Bernardine Dohrn

Gregory Randall was born in New York City in 1960, then lived eight years in Mexico, fourteen in Cuba, eleven in France and since 1994 has resided in Uruguay. He and his wife have three children and one grandchild. He did his undergraduate work in telecommunications in Cuba and earned his doctorate in information technology from the University of Orsay, France. Since 1994 he has been a professor of electrical engineering at the University of the Republic in Montevideo. From 2007 to 2014 he was also that institution’s vice president for research, during which time he promoted and oversaw the establishment of several university campuses in the interior of the country. To Have Been There Then is his first book, a memoir of childhood and young adulthood in the Cuba of the 1970s and ‘80s, with moving, often breathtaking stories of what it was like for a young boy to grow up in revolution.

For more information: