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I highly recommend this book All have heard of the icon Che Guevara May 14, 1928 October 9, 1967 This book shows you who he really was His character, his weaknesses and strengths, his life philosophy and goals, all of this is covered in this book It is meticulously researched and full of exclusive information, for example previously unavailable information gathered from his second wife It follows his life chronologically through to his death After his death, in the epilogue, the lives I highly recommend this book All have heard of the icon Che Guevara May 14, 1928 October 9, 1967 This book shows you who he really was His character, his weaknesses and strengths, his life philosophy and goals, all of this is covered in this book It is meticulously researched and full of exclusive information, for example previously unavailable information gathered from his second wife It follows his life chronologically through to his death After his death, in the epilogue, the lives of his siblings, parents, children and wives are chronicled too This book is comprehensive His characteristics are exemplified through his deeds You are not merely told that he is a man of principle , but you are shown how his deeds make him that I admire Che Guevara and yet he went too far At least in my opinion He certainly wanted to help others He certainly demanded high standards of others, but he demanded the same of himself.This book is also about the ideals of socialism It is about communism and how the Russian and Chinese diverge It is about the guerrilla warfare The book is about how these political ideologies spread in Latin America You learn of how these ideologies played out in all of Latin America, not just in the country of his birth, Argentina, not just in Cuba, but in Nicaragua and Guatemala and Peru and Bolivia and Mexico The history of all of Latin America from the 30s through the 60s is delineated Why Because he had a hand in much of it You learn of the fight for socialism in the Congo too I am usually not interested in politics But Che had such devotion to his principles that his enthusiasm spreads and you understand why he does what he does, even if it all goes too far in the end The author made me understand how Che reasoned And Che knew his own faults You see in this book how people change and how they don t change How wonderful ideals can get all messed up.I feel I know who Che Guevara is after reading this book I learned a lot about Latin American history Through his life I became very interested in this history There are a lot of names and historical facts that will disappear from my head, but something will fasten I listened to an audiobook The narration, by Armando Dur n, was superb He could read the facts with an appropriate tone Equally well he made the reader understand Che s emotions Beware, this is a very long audiobook 36 hours and 48 minutes I found all of it compelling To really know who Che is you must hear the details These facts are not boring The pronunciation of the Spanish names I found difficult to spell out I couldn t even see them because I had no book in front of me and they are pronounced fluently Nevertheless I did remember most of who all these people were Don t ask me to write out their names because I cannot, but I did recognize who was who as I listened.You must know that Che was really called Ernesto Che means you, there He used to say that all the time to others That is why others started calling him that He was trained as a doctor When he was young he was not at all interested in politics He had terrible asthma Can you imagine fighting as a guerrilla with asthma in humid climates These are just a smattering of some interesting tidbits No, I don t believe in communism No, I don t believe in guerrilla warfare I still admire Che Guevara He is a fascinating person If he didn t know something, he set himself to learn it I will put an end to this..I cannot go on and on telling you about him I highly recommend this book, but give yourself the time to read it properly I did not read Che because I m a wannabe socialist or guerrilla I read Che because I generally like biographies I think it is good for twenty somethings who are asking what are my values and how will I commit to them in my life to read biographies of people who have done that whether their values are similar or different What I loved about this book was not only the lens on the fascinating history of Che s life and especially the Cuban revolution, but the dozens of journal excerpts from Ch I did not read Che because I m a wannabe socialist or guerrilla I read Che because I generally like biographies I think it is good for twenty somethings who are asking what are my values and how will I commit to them in my life to read biographies of people who have done that whether their values are similar or different What I loved about this book was not only the lens on the fascinating history of Che s life and especially the Cuban revolution, but the dozens of journal excerpts from Che I mean what a deeply reflective thinker What a passionate soul A true inspiration is Che Guevara to one who needs a boost of courage to take the risk of following what they believe in, even if it means sacrificing the easy road of a lot of comfort and security in one s life I doubt they ll ever be adefinitive account of Che Guevara s life than this epic tome Jon Lee Anderson lived in Cuba whilst researching this book and it shows with the exhaustive amount of detail.A Revolutionary Life is infinitely quotable I could probably write ten blog pages with the musings of Che Guevara but I won t because it wouldn t make sense But I am going to post a couple during this review starting with I have sworn before a picture of the old and mourned comrade Stalin that I doubt they ll ever be adefinitive account of Che Guevara s life than this epic tome Jon Lee Anderson lived in Cuba whilst researching this book and it shows with the exhaustive amount of detail.A Revolutionary Life is infinitely quotable I could probably write ten blog pages with the musings of Che Guevara but I won t because it wouldn t make sense But I am going to post a couple during this review starting with I have sworn before a picture of the old and mourned comrade Stalin that I won t rest until I see these capitalist octopuses annihilated I don t mind admitting I knew very little about Che Guevara prior to reading this There s the famous photo, which is plastered across anything merchandisable usually completely out of context, and his association with Fidel Castro I was ignorant of the who, what, where, when etc Thankfully this biography answers every question I was ever likely to have about the great man.Split into three parts, each section focuses on a different stage of Che s life Part 1 gives a brief glimpse into his childhood and goes up to the beginning of his working relationship with Fidel Castro Part 2 covers the battle for Cuba and the Cuban Revolution and Part 3 focuses on life after the Cuban victory up to his death in Bolivia.There is a huge amount of detail and ground covered in this book, so much so that huge isn t an apt enough word to use There were times when I was completely enthralled by the story the author was presenting me with, his research phenomenal and attention to detail obviously passionate I had to keep reminding myself this was true Despite how Che is depicted in pop culture he wasn t some kind of machine gun wielding Bruce Willis type One Man Army The battles he fought were under cover, in the dark and the dirt, fought in close quarters, nasty, brutal and ugly The author is superb at putting you in the midst of a battle you can quite easily go from philosophy and politics to blood soaked ambushes.Sometimes, though, the detail is overwhelming On a few occasions the author tries to fit too much into too few sentences minor events, dates, places, names are reeled off in quick succession, becoming too much to process and easy to forget I understand the author wanted to give a comprehensive account of the story behind the legend but at least a hundred pages could have been cut This was the only issue I had For Ernesto, the iconography of modern Argentine nationhood was merely a superficial veneer, a luxurious facade under which the country s true soul lay and that soul was rotten and diseased If you re after a dense and complete history of Che Guevara then I cannot recommend this book enough Yes, it s 800 long pages and at times hard going but it s still an important book packed with intriguing history I rarely give those 5 stars, but after some hard thoughts, I decided that this one deserves it The author tries to give an account as balanced as you possibly could about a man as complex as Che The research effort put into this is immense and it shows in the details The important thing for me was that Anderson showed us both sides of the man His other worldly drive for justice and solidarity, but also his cold blooded ruthlessness and obsession for discipline I firmly think he is one of th I rarely give those 5 stars, but after some hard thoughts, I decided that this one deserves it The author tries to give an account as balanced as you possibly could about a man as complex as Che The research effort put into this is immense and it shows in the details The important thing for me was that Anderson showed us both sides of the man His other worldly drive for justice and solidarity, but also his cold blooded ruthlessness and obsession for discipline I firmly think he is one of the most intelligent men of his era, but he is also a showcase for what can happen when a great mind is letting his emotions take over at virtually all time After reading this book, it is clear that Che was and is misunderstood by a whole lot of people In the end he was a flawed man, who believed that what he was doing was for the good of the poor and the oppressed He believed that was worth to sacrifice his own comfort and ultimately own life I can only respect him for that I admit that I try to overlook his dark side a little bit in order to let him shine just enough.And may I say itthis book changes the way I view things This book was given me as a gift an excellent one as the biography of Ernesto Che Guevara b Argentina 6 14 28 d Bolivia 10 9 67 is not only well researched but also balanced and very well written Although a cultural icon even in life, Che is presented realistically as the hopeful revolutionary he was too radical and cosmopolitan, perhaps, to have lasted long as a Cuban administrator One may not agree with his politics, but it is difficult not to admire the man s spirit. Over the years as Che Guevara was commodified, he became the most familiar figure and yet a misunderstood and unkown personality He became a brand that was used to sell everything from t shirts and mugs to canned beer In all this commodification, Che s life and what he stood for got lost Who was this extraordinary man who gave up his privilege and everything he cherished and dedicated his life to an idea and died for it This is a great biography that gives him a historical context and brings Over the years as Che Guevara was commodified, he became the most familiar figure and yet a misunderstood and unkown personality He became a brand that was used to sell everything from t shirts and mugs to canned beer In all this commodification, Che s life and what he stood for got lost Who was this extraordinary man who gave up his privilege and everything he cherished and dedicated his life to an idea and died for it This is a great biography that gives him a historical context and brings him to life.Che is one of the most important and charismatic figures of the human struggle against injustice and oppression This biography is meticulously detailed and comprehensive John lee Anderson takes us from the social conditions of his childhood, his family whose independent spirit will be a great influence on him, his medical studies, to his famous motorcycle journeys and his later journeys across the Americas that awakened his political and social consciousness as he became a dedicated Marxist The Cuban revolution after which he became the principal architect of its economic direction, and his return to Guerrilla warfare after he decided that the Cuban revolution was on the right path that eventually led to his death in Bolivia The death that would give him such an enduring romantic legacy The final section of this book has many poignant moments.Che was selfless, strong willed, honest, a lover of learning who constantly read books, and was totally dedicated to the cause of struggle against imperialism While Fidel and Che shared the same goals and ideals, Fidel was a wily politician who presented a different face to the public from his private self and Che was honest to a fault who always spoke his mind The author brings out both the passionate romantic and the cold rationale side of him.As a guerilla he was a man embroiled in a violent struggle and was no saint He was a great tactician and a charismatic leader who attracted undying loyalty from many He led an ascetic life and expected everyone to live upto his standards He was a strict disciplinarian He was also very idealistic and utopian which shows in the unbridled faith and optimism that he showed even when people around him were failing him.As an administrator he was the driving force behind Cuba s land reforms and its successful health and literacy programs As a Marxist, he wanted to diversify and industrialise the Cuban economy In this he was critical of the soviet model and wasof a Maoist He was a dedicated internationalist and he held that socialism could only be successful with the creation of the New Man He believed that a change in consciousness should be simultaneous with the new material foundations I think his idea of the New socialist man is his most important contribution to Marxist theory He argued that capitalism produces incomplete alienated individuals that only a true socialist society enables a man to become a complete individual.An excellent and inspirational biography of a truly selfless revolutionary He dedicated his life to what he believed in and he ultimately died for it The great historical tragedy surrounding the legacy of Che Guevara is that man who was nothing but completely and utterly sincere has become a symbol of insincerity I m not sure if this was always the case, but at least when I see people of my generation wearing a Che shirt or displaying a Che poster, I no longer see the famous Korda photograph of Guevara, I see the words I am a giant poser tattooed in bold relief on that persons face There may be people who are sincere in their admiration,The great historical tragedy surrounding the legacy of Che Guevara is that man who was nothing but completely and utterly sincere has become a symbol of insincerity I m not sure if this was always the case, but at least when I see people of my generation wearing a Che shirt or displaying a Che poster, I no longer see the famous Korda photograph of Guevara, I see the words I am a giant poser tattooed in bold relief on that persons face There may be people who are sincere in their admiration, but usually a Che shirt symbolizes that the wearer listens to Rage Against the Machine in their car stereos on the way to the mall to spend their parents money at the most convenient Hot Topic As others have noted, the person who would be most revolted by this misappropriation of identity would be Che himself.The cult of Che continues to make some sense, even after the end of the Cold War Guevara was brilliant, curious, compassioniate, and utterly committed to his principal beliefs Among the communist leaders of the 20th century, Guevara emerges as the one most faithfully committed to his principles It s hard to imagine Che compromising Marxist principles for the sake of economic expediency, like Lenin, or for the accumulation of personal power, like Stalin Che was willing to die for his beliefs, indeed he arguably actively sought his own eventual martyrdom Additionally, Che s legacy, like Kurt Cobain s or Jim Morrison s, greatly benefited from the relative brevity of his life Che died soon enough that his entire life in still basked in the warm glow of revolution Perhaps one of the reasons he appears so steadfast is that he didn t live long enough to compromise his legacy There s the added benefit that Che was a pretty handsome guy, so we remember him as a dashing guerilla type There is no footage of Che as a doddering 80 year old man still wearing army fatigues, rambling incoherencies.In many ways, Che was an archetype for the baby boomer generation Born into a middle class Argentinian family, Che spent his early years searching for a sense of meaning He eventually found it in a sympathy with the poor and exploited peasants of Latin America This further exacerbated an already present sense of anti Americanism, that lasted throughout his lifetime Contrary to U.S Cold Warrior theory, it was antipathy to Americans that eventually led him to Marxism To be fair, such feelings weren t exactly unjustified Wherever there was a South or Central American corrupt dictator exploiting his people there was usually the government of the United States standing behind them Communism was initially just the bugaboo used to justify intervention The real reason the United States intervened in South America during the Eisenhower years was to protect the interests of United Fruit, Coca Cola and other American companies Guevara s sympathies for the downtrodden of Latin America eventually drove him to armed resistance In Guatemala, he fought against the U.S backed coup against a democratically elected president The failure of this struggle taught Guevara many lessons, and was probably the last push that led to him becoming a full fledged Communist.After the coup in Guatemala, Che continued to Mexico City, which was at the time the exile capital of Americas Here he connected with a group of Cuban exiles through whom he eventually met a young lawyer who had recently been let out of prison for a failed attack on a barracks, Fidel Castro Here Guevara finally found the purpose that would consume the rest of his life The rest, as they say, is history.Che s life is a story of a young man s search for fulfillment, eventual satisfaction, and an attempt to, for lack of better words, chase that feeling The success of Castro s revolution is truly a remarkable story A group of several dozen rebels led by Castro landed in Cuba in December, 1956 WIthin weeks their numbers had been reduced to less than twenty Yet just a little two years after their disastrous landing, Batista s dictatorship had collapsed and the rebels were marching into Havana I m not sure what sure of this ultimate success can be apportioned to the leadership of Castro, Guevara, and others, but obviously a tremendous deal of luck was involved.Che spent the remainder of his life with the ambition to duplicate the Cuban revolution in his birthplace Here s where Che s many faults came into play Guevara had all of the arrogance and hardheadedness that came with being a steadfast ideologue Just because something had been done once, Che believed that it could be duplicated in different situations by following a set of principles This belief led to nothing but disasters of an increasingly hubristic nature Che failed that his earlier success in Cuba made a repeat of that success near impossible Now, Latin American governments and their U.S supporters would not tolerate small bands of guerillas operating in the mountains, allowing them to build up their resources Instead, they would be smashed quickly and brutally After seeing several of his sponsored guerilla groups destroyed, as a result of what he perceived as a failure to follow his instructions, Che decided to reenter the field himself Ironically, these expeditions on a smaller scale resembled the situation the United States was concurrently experiencing in Vietnam Che went into the Congo convinced that his leadership and Cuban support could inspire the disparate rebel groups there Instead, the rebellion had been smashed within months and the path was set the stage for the 30 year Mobutu dictatorship.Che s final venture in Bolivia was a complete and utter fiasco The farce didn t even deserve the term revolution, it wasof a Cuban intervention in a sovereign country Castro and Guevara decided that Bolivia was the appropriate launching spot for what they hoped would be a continent wide uprising and they strong armed elements in Bolivia to provide the reluctant and feeble native backing The struggle was essentially Cuban led, and mostly Cuban fought with an element of Bolivian support Not surprisingly, it was a disaster from the start, and Che didn t follow his own rule book Events culminated in Guevara s eventual surrender and execution.Like I mentioned, Che had all of the strengths and weaknesses of an intellectual who lives in sole service of an idea He was a moral man without hypocrisy, who could be charismatic, funny, and brilliant But he served his idea to a faul As much as he railed against the untoward influence of the U.S over Latin America, his beliefs put Cuba into a muchsubservient position toward the U.S.S.R Even before his death, he left his children fatherless to serve the revolution He was also uncompromising to a fault He was willing to look favorably upon nuclear armageddon as long as it served his cause In the romantic accounts of Guevara s life and death, it is not mentioned that he died in an attempt to spark World War III His aspirations were that his uprising in Bolivia would lead to a continent wide uprising that would create a second Vietnam in the Americas He hoped this would inspire China and the Soviet Union to set aside their sectarian differences to unite in a general struggle against the United States He foresaw asocialistic humanity emerging from the ashes of a nuclear conflict He was willing to see the death of millions as long as it served his ideological beliefs No matter his good qualities, this lessens the sense of tragedy surrounding his execution, for me at least.Whatever the case may be, the life and death of Ernesto Che Guevara is an epic tale, and Jon Lee Anderson does an admirable job in relating it The investigative journalistic work that Anderson did oozes out of the work Anderson spent years on this project, and lived for years in Cuba In addition to reading almost everything written about or by Che, Anderson has interviewed scores of Guevara s contemporaries, in Cuba and Argentina, including childhood friends, Cuban officials, and fellow guerillas What emerges is a balanced biography that is rare for such a polarizing subject My review perhaps does not exhibit this quality, but this isof a result of the conclusions I drew from the book and not a reflection on any inherent biases Anderson might have Anderson does not seek to beatify or demonize, he seeks to report Doing so, he actually was able to break news It was his research in the course of writing this book that led to the discovery of Guevara s long lost remains near a airstrip in Bolivia in 1997 Anderson chips off the tarnish of mythology to prevent an evenhanded and reliable account of life of one of the most iconic figures of the 20th century. Ohhhh Im in love with my beloved CheHow brave he is How strong he is How determined he is I was continously sobbing and reading his last words when Bolivian army executed him he said I know you came here to kill me..shoot me coward you are killing only a man, you can not kill my ideas Actually What I do not like in communism is that, it abolishes the religion because Karl Marx clearly said that Religion is a silent protest of people against the state through prayers.What I Ohhhh Im in love with my beloved CheHow brave he is How strong he is How determined he is I was continously sobbing and reading his last words when Bolivian army executed him he said I know you came here to kill me..shoot me coward you are killing only a man, you can not kill my ideas Actually What I do not like in communism is that, it abolishes the religion because Karl Marx clearly said that Religion is a silent protest of people against the state through prayers.What I like in communism is No one can own a property and all is divided by the state through proper rules according to the needs of their people.In this way no one is rich or poor Shoot, coward, you are only going to kill a man Ernesto Che Guevara s last words Anderson, 1991 735 Ernesto Che Guevara de la SernaThose words make me shudder And one will wonder, who this man is, that in his irrepressible idealism enlivened in clandestine activities and political conspiracies, dare deprive death of his satisfaction, for indeed decades later, Comandante Che, is now heroically revered Born Ernesto Guevara de la Serna, Che Guevara, was, unlike the ideology he died for Shoot, coward, you are only going to kill a man Ernesto Che Guevara s last words Anderson, 1991 735 Ernesto Che Guevara de la SernaThose words make me shudder And one will wonder, who this man is, that in his irrepressible idealism enlivened in clandestine activities and political conspiracies, dare deprive death of his satisfaction, for indeed decades later, Comandante Che, is now heroically revered Born Ernesto Guevara de la Serna, Che Guevara, was, unlike the ideology he died for, born in an affluent family of landed Argentinean elites, albeit a family on a sole route certain to lead them to modest living later on Ernestito, as he was fondly called, was born with asthma, and throughout his life, this will limit and define him At 7, barred by his recurring and debilitating asthma attacks from engaging in strenuous activities reinforced by a concrete mother son relationship, Ernesto developed a love for literature He was, in most instances in his life, a voracious reader.The Young Che groomed in an elite societyAt 16,Everything began with literature for him 89At this age he has quoted Freud and Nietzsche in his journal He read Jack London, Bertrand Russell, Faulkner, Kafka, Camus, and Sartre Most often, he said, Neruda was his favorite At 25, While in Medical School, Ernesto has traveled a sizeable part of South America first through his bicycle later outfitted with a motor and later with a motorbike The travels are of monumental importance, in this austere travels characterized by the occasional begging of food and hitch hiking rides, Che met the people of South America and for the first time saw the world through their forgotten faces and unheard voices Indeed he writes,The person who wrote these notes died upon stepping once again onto Argentine soil The person who edits and polishes them, me, is no longer At least, I am not the person I was before The vagabonding through America has changed methan I thought 167Che with his faithful bicycle he used for travellingAt 27, He meets Fidel and Raul Castro, who will later on invite him in, to which he giddily joined, the July 26 Movement for the liberation of Cuba from Batista This critical step launches Ernesto away from his paradoxical behavior of complete apathy and radical declamations that characterized his earlier yearsI will be with the people, and i know it because I see it etched in the night that I, the eclectic dissector of doctrines and psychoanalyst of dogmas, howling like one possessed, will assault the barricades or trenches, will bathe my weapon in blood and, mad with fury, will slit the throat of any enemy who falls into my hands 201At 32, The July 26 Movement finds daylight, Batista flees the country, and a newly established revolutionary government with Fidel Castro as the head pronounced Che Guevara as a Cuban Citizen by birth Che helps implement land reforms and literacy improvement projects in the liberated Cuba.Che with CastroAt 36, He left his ministerial position, commander s rank, and family to spark off new revolutions.At 39, Che Guevara was caught in Bolivia, while tied down and kept as a prisoner, he was shot to death, his hands were cut off, and buried in an unmarked mass grave The remains were exhumed and later found through a confession of a retired Bolivian General who came clean to this book s author Jon Lee Anderson made a splendid job writing this biography He was an international investigative reporter, war correspondent and staff writer for The New Yorker His fastidiousness and training as an investigative writer was thoroughly employed in an outstanding manner This is a well researched work grounded on extensive and exclusive primary sources that were given to Anderson when he approached Che Guevara s widow, Aleida March, a distinction other written biographies lack that inevitably strips them of some semblance of true portrayal of Che s life if not sheer outright veracity that led to biographies that have often resulted to sanctimonious and romanticized accounts Anderson s narrative is fluid and light He presents the social milieu operative in Che s environment and in so doing, the reader is made to understand how this helped shape the man Anderson intermittently interjects his intuitive comments on the narrative which are always rational if not factual What I have come to appreciate the most was Anderson s tone in writing which was, if not totally objective, was not defined by a western bias in the least This is a great piece of work not only because of Anderson s capacity and technical aspects in writing butso in what it has substantially achieved He was able to peel layers and layers of laudatory accounts and legends on this icon and revealed the man within Did I enjoy reading this biography Definitely, yes Did I come to know Ernesto Che Guevara Yes Will I recommend this This is the book one must read to know Che Guevara Accounts vary on this, and the incident itself has attained an exalted position, sometimes mythologized Other accounts point that this is Che s last written word as contained in his Bolivian diary This review, along with my other reviews, has been cross posted at imbookedindefinitely `DOWNLOAD EPUB ⇦ Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life ☝ Acclaimed around the world and a national best seller, this is the definitive work on Che Guevara, the dashing rebel whose epic dream was to end poverty and injustice in Latin America and the developing world through armed revelation Jon Lee Anderson s biography traces Che s extraordinary life, from his comfortable Argentine upbringing to the battlefields of the Cuban revolution, from the halls of power in Castro s government to his failed campaign in the Congo and assassination in the Bolivian JungleAnderson has had unprecedented access to the personal archives maintained by Guevara s window and carefully guarded Cuban government documents He has conducted extensive interviews with Che s comarades some of whom speak here for the first time and with CIA men and Bolivian officers who hunted him down Anderson broke the story of where Guevara s body was buried, which led to the exhumation and stat burial of the bones Many of the details of Che s life have long been cloaked in secrecy and intrigue Meticulously researched and full of exclusive information, Che Guevara illuminates as never before this mythic figure who embodied the high water mark of revolutionary communism as a force in history Friendly Fire (Jonathan Grave this is the definitive work on Che Guevara A Necessary Evil (Sam Wyndham the dashing rebel whose epic dream was to end poverty and injustice in Latin America and the developing world through armed revelation Jon Lee Anderson s biography traces Che s extraordinary life To Hold (The Dumont Diaries, from his comfortable Argentine upbringing to the battlefields of the Cuban revolution The Eerie Adventures of the Lycanthrope Robinson Crusoe from the halls of power in Castro s government to his failed campaign in the Congo and assassination in the Bolivian JungleAnderson has had unprecedented access to the personal archives maintained by Guevara s window and carefully guarded Cuban government documents He has conducted extensive interviews with Che s comarades some of whom speak here for the first time and with CIA men and Bolivian officers who hunted him down Anderson broke the story of where Guevara s body was buried Murphys Ambush which led to the exhumation and stat burial of the bones Many of the details of Che s life have long been cloaked in secrecy and intrigue Meticulously researched and full of exclusive information Ecotarian Diet Che Guevara illuminates as never before this mythic figure who embodied the high water mark of revolutionary communism as a force in history