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Tue, 03 Aug 2010 14:01 - Updated Tue, 03 Aug 2010 14:00

Fidel Castro leads ceremony unveiling his new book

Havana

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Havana,   - Fidel Castro presented his new book at a closed-door ceremony Monday, a  work he says contains an autobiographical section and details a major military victory that  sped his rise to power in 1959.

The book, "The Strategic Victory," has yet to be released to the general public.

Organizers of the unveiling ceremony said 3,500 copies would be made available in coming  days and 50,000 copies would eventually be published.

State television showed images of Castro's appearance at Havana's convention centre, alongside his long-time official biographer, Katiuska Blanco.

Wearing a red, short-sleeve shirt and appearing relaxed, Castro spoke for more than an hour,  largely reading from the book and pointing out highlights to a crowd that included ex-castaway  Elian Gonzalez and his family.

When he was through reading, Castro took some historical questions from the crowd, then  signed copies of the book.

Castro, whose 84th birthday is Aug. 13, has made a string of near daily public appearances of  late, after staying almost completely out of the public eye since undergoing emergency  intestinal surgery in July 2006.