Thursday, 30 August 2012

Books by Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara

The Motorcycle Diaries

These diaries were written by Che during his 1952 motorcycle odyssey through Latin America with his friend Alberto Granado as Guevara is transformed and politicised by the injustice he witnesses.
During their travels, Guevara and Granado encounter the poverty of indigenous peasants: they witness a penniless couple forced onto the road because of their communist beliefs in Chile; the maltreatment of workers at a Chuquicamata copper mine; the segregation of dark-skinned peasants; and observe the division of society whilst volunteering on a leper colony in Peru. They also chase girls, drink too much and get into scrapes along the way – but it is the encounters with social injustice that help crystallise Guevara’s belief in egalitarianism and a pan-Latin American identity.

Had Guevara’s life not become entwined in revolutionary adventure, this would have been the journey of a lifetime. As the Times described it, the Motorcycle Diaries is “Easy Rider meets Das Kapital”.

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Latin America Diaries

This book is another riveting instalment of the life and times of Che Guevara as he travels Latin America and becomes increasingly involved in political struggles from 1953. It is a sequel to the Motorcycle Diaries and provides an enjoyable and fascinating look at the development of a revolutionary hero.

His second trip through the continent reveals the emergence of a revolutionary icon, captured in these writings - his diary entries, poetry, journalism and letters. Together they document his life after leaving medical school, travelling through Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador and his witnessing of the US-inspired coup in Guatemala before travelling to Mexico where he encounters Fidel Castro.

As a writer, Che had the ability bring to life sights, sounds, emotions; elicit feelings of romance, laughter, even tears. This book makes clear Che’s humour, passion for life and love of people.

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Reminiscences of Cuban Revolutionary War

This autobiographical book by Che Guevara documents his experiences during the Cuban Revolution. First published in 1963, it was a compilation of articles by Che that originally appeared in Verde Olivo, the weekly publication of Cuba’s Revolutionary Armed Forces.

This collection of memories conveys the excitement, zeal, possibilities, problems and limitations of Guevara's "guerrilla warfare" strategy as it was practiced in the Sierra Maestra. It is brimming with battlefield action as it examines how the popular war transformed a nation and follows Che’s own transition from troop doctor to world famous revolutionary leader.

It features a preface by Che’s daughter, Aleida Guevara, and a new translation with Che’s own corrections incorporated into the text for the first time, this edition also contains extraordinary photographs of the period.  

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Guerrilla Warfare

This classic account of the motivations and justifications of revolution forms the basis of Che’s theory of guerrilla warfare. It was written after the Cuban Revolution and soon became the guidebook for thousands of guerrilla fights in across the world. As well as being used as a manual for revolutionary struggle, it has been studied by counter-revolutionary military schools to inform counter-insurgency strategy.

Guevara stresses the need for an underpinning political motivation to guerrilla methods, organisation and supply. He emphasisez that guerrilla warfare is a favourable method only against totalitarian regimes where political opposition and civil struggle is impossible to conduct.

Guevara dedicated the book to his recently deceased comrade Camilo Cienfuegos, "who should have read and corrected it, but whose fate prevented him from carrying out the task."
With an introduction by Marc Becker, this is more than an instruction guide to founding a guerrilla movement, it is a work that sets out the faith necessary for political action, it showcases Che’s own idealism and gives the best insight into Guevarist political philosophy and military strategy.

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African Dream – Diaries of the Revolutionary War in the Congo

The African Dream follows Che’s attempts to spread the fight against U.S. imperialism to Africa. This extraordinary diary records in minute and often humorous detail Guevara’s experiences with a Cuban guerrilla force in the eastern Congo between April and November 1965. In his own opinion, the adventure was a fiasco and this book is an unvarnished account of what he saw as flaws in the Congolese revolutionaries he met and his own military strategy. 

The differing splits and factions in the Congolese resistance characterises the ethnic in-fighting that has effected the whole world and, in particularly, this region of Africa. Che’s frustration at the lack of success with his task becomes obvious, but one must not diminish the importance of how much the Cubans learnt from their experiences in the Congo, in relation to their later international successes.
This special edition contains a beautiful foreword by Aleida Guevara March, the daughter of Che Guevara plus 8 pages of stunning photos.

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The Bolivian Diary

Che Guevara’s famous last diary – found in his backpack after he was captured by the Bolivian Army and assassinated by CIA-backed troops in 1967 – played a pivotal role in catapulting him to iconic status after his death.

This fascinating diary is the remarkable and ultimately tragic account of the Bolivian Liberation Army and Che’s attempts to forge a revolutionary movement of workers and peasants against the military dictatorship. The book is a sobering account of the drudgery, fear and monotony of guerrilla warfare. Much of the diary is taken up with the preoccupations of basic survival in primitive conditions. There are some wonderful moments, such as commandeering a jeep and running it on the urine of his guerrillas, but ultimately this period will be remembered for Che’s tragic death which enshrined him as a martyr of the radical Left.

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