Born and raised in Mariano, Cuba, Farber came to the United States in February 1958. He obtained a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California at Berkeley in 1969 and taught at a number of colleges and universities including UCLA and, most recently, Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, where he is a Professor Emeritus of Political Science. His scholarship on Cuba is extensive and includes many articles and two previous books: Revolution and Reaction in Cuba, 1933-1960 (Wesleyan University Press, 1976) and The Origins of the Cuban Revolution Reconsidered (University of North Carolina Press, 2006). He is also the author of Before Stalinism: The Rise and Fall of Soviet Democracy (Polity/Verso, 1990) and Social Decay and Transformation: A View From The Left (Lexington Books, 2000). Farber was active in the Cuban high school student movement against Fulgencio Batista in the 1950s, and has been involved in socialist politics for more than fifty years.
- Before Stalinism: Rise and Fall of Soviet Democracy, Verso Books, October 1990.
- The Resurrection of Che Guevara, New Politics, Volume 7, Number 1, (Summer 1998).
- Revolution and Reaction in Cuba, 1933–1960.
- The Origins of the Cuban Revolution Reconsidered, The University of North Carolina Press, 2006.
- Cuba Since the Revolution of 1959, a Critical Assessment.
- "A new book by Samuel Farber". Havana Times. 3 Dec 2011.
- "Obama and Latinos" (in Spanish). Brecha. 2012-11-30. Archived from the original on 2012-11-19.
- Sheyla Hirshon (2 Feb 2012). "Book review of Cuba: A Critical Assessment". Havana Times.