From the author’s preface:
Like most biographers, I researched my subject’s childhood, starting with her relationship to her mother, who died when Celia was six. Celia’s father was a country doctor, a bit glamorous, with a taste for history and a library of fine books. I learned that Dr. Sanchez was a political activist who believed in social justice, a man who believed in a better future for all Cubans. I traveled to Manzanillo, and met the city’s historian, Delio Orozco. We traveled down the coast, visiting the historian of Campechuela, who told me how Celia had escaped from the military police by hiding in a thicket of thorns. We went to the place where she was arrested. There, I began to sense that her greatness might reside not so much in the buildings she’d produced as in her willingness to risk everything to rid Cuba of false leaders who relied on backing from both the United States and the Mob. I sensed that she was something of an avenging angel. Considering what I knew of her father, that seemed very much in Celia’s DNA.