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Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life [Paperback]

Jon Lee Anderson
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
RRP: 17.99
Price: 12.59 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

1 Oct 1997

He became a myth in his own lifetime and an international martyr-figure upon his death; he was a revolutionary fighter, a military strategist, a social philosopher, an economist, a medical doctor, and a friend and confidant of Fidel Castro. Che Guevara's dream was an epic one - to unite Latin America and the rest of the developing world through armed revolution, and to end once and for all the poverty, injustice and petty nationalisms that had bled it for centuries. In the end Che failed in his quest but he is recognized as that one-in-a-million personality who just might have pulled it off.

Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life shuttles between the revolutionary capitals of Havana and Algiers to the battlegrounds of Bolivia and the Congo; from the halls of power in Moscow and Washington to the exile havens of Miami, Mexico and Guatemala, in a gripping tale of revolution, international intrigue and covert operations. It has an epic sweep as it evokes an era of tumultuous change, describing major events like the Bay of Pigs invasion, the October Missile crisis and Kennedy's assassination. Among its cast of characters are scores of historic personalities including Castro, Kennedy, Kruschev, Mao Tse-tung, Jean Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, to name but a few.

Jon Lee Anderson has been given unprecedented access to the Cuban Government's archives and has had total co-operation from Che's widow, Aleida March, who has never previously spoken for publication about her late husband. He has obtained hitherto unpublished documents, including several of Che's personal diaries and, in the course of his research, broke open a twenty-eight-year-old mystery - the whereabouts of Che's body in Bolivia. There is no doubt that this monumental work will stand as the definitive portrait of one of the twentieth century's most fascinating, yet largely unexplored, historical figures.

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Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life + The Motorcycle Diaries + My Life
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Product details

  • Paperback: 832 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; New Ed edition (1 Oct 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553406647
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553406641
  • Product Dimensions: 15.7 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 51,656 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Masterly and absorbing" (Frank McLynn The Sunday Times)

"Brilliantly evoked... The portrait is now as complete as it will ever be" (Alberto Manguel The Times Literary Supplement)

"Absorbing and convincing... an indispensable work of contemporary history" (Guardian)

Book Description

The first definitive biography of Ernesto Che Guevara, the twentieth century's supreme revolutionary martyr.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hat can I say? 11 May 2005
Before reading the book I knew little of Che. After reading the book you are so suprised how much effort has went into making the book. It is brilliantly researched and thoroughly documented. I take my Hat off to Jon Lee for he has painted a great unbiased picture of the situation in Latin America at the time as well as showing the world who Che really was. What you learn from reading the book is that the world isn't as it seems and we in the Western world are being held back from hearing many truths. This book is a must read.
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55 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The definitive account 4 Nov 2004
Simply stated this book is immense. An unbiased account of one the most important historical figures of South America. Not only does Anderson provide an in-depth biography of Guevara but he also delves into the history of the time thus we get first rate writing on Khrushchev, Castro, the nuclear missile crisis, the bay of pigs. Also gives a great insight into the world of international ambassador's and diplomats and inner workings of the U.N and other international bodies. A book that cannot be praised enough.
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48 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterful portrayal of an extraordinary life 15 Nov 2000
By A Customer
This is a brilliant biography of one of the most complex and compelling characters of the twentieth century. Che's life is dissected in great detail, from his asthmatic childhood to his murder in the Bolivian jungle at the age of 39.
Much that is written about Che is ideologically driven, trying to either deify or demonise the Argentine revolutionary. To his credit, Anderson succeeds in maintaining a rational approach to his subject, making this book readable to friends and foes of Che alike.
Che was the ultimate revolutionary icon of his era. Reading this book has given me some understanding of the man that existed behind the myth. Read it !!!
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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truely Inspirational 17 Feb 2006
I too did not know that much about Cuba or Che Guevara before reading this book. It was recommended to me by a work collegue as the best reference to his life on the market, and i wasnt dissapointed.
The attention to detail that the author shows is fantastic. It took me over 3 months to read, but i was glued the whole time, following Che as he developed his ideologies, his personality and his passion to make a difference for those people who are most exploited in this world.
But he doesn't shy away from contentious subjects such as the so called atrocities caried out by the Guerillas in their campaign or by Castro's regime following the revolutions victory in 59.
This book was a real eye opener to American foreign policy, especially in today's volitile global situation, and does nothing improve opinions on those in charge of the worlds largest military and economic power.
Whatever your opinion on Che, there isnt a doubt (in my mind) that this book shows him as someone, whose entire existence was devoted to helping the human race, something we can all aspire to.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BRILLIANT 25 April 2007
By Steve
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Anderson has written a massive biography, starting when Che was a child, he takes us from his formative years, his revolutionary awakening on his famous motorcycle trips, his revolutionary battles, through to his death in Bolivia. The book is brought alive with fascinating details and interviews, and previously unpublished writings which give a thorough insight into not only the man, but the political climate of the Cold War, and the unsavoury dealings of the CIA and KGB. It does not matter whether you agree with Che's political stance or actions, this book gives a slice of recent history which is essential to the understanding of the times he lived in, and how we got to where we are today. Excellent research and extremely readable.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best to date 12 Feb 2010
As with the recollection of most iconic symbols of the human struggle against injustice and tyranny, the truth is often blurred by romantic historians of the left who elevate people like Che to almost superhuman status, or by those of the right who wish to demonise any rebel who dared to say enough is enough.
Jon Lee Anderson has not taken the middle road option and tried to be "balanced". If he had, the book would have been, like political correctness, a complete farce. Instead he has shown Che for the man he was. His frailties, contradictions and shortcomings, like all of us, are laid bare for all to see.
The series of events, both personal and otherwise, that turned a sickly middle class child into the uncompromising revolutionary with a will of steel are meticulously detailed. I admired Che before as one of the most charismatic and selfless revolutionaries of our time. I was wrong, he is the most charismatic and selfless revolutionary of our time. This book is the most comprehensive document of Che's life to date. I highly recommend the book to anyone who is interested not only in the life of Che Guevara, but also the history of Latin America.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Good 1 Jun 2006
Well what can I say, this is the only definitive analysis of Che's life I have come across and despite my reserved opinions, it is a very frank, fair and even candid piece; I appreciate the effort and meticulous detail into which the author, Mr. John Anderson delved in bringing us this work of literature which, inspite of my extremely cautious attitude, does much more good than harm. He has genuinely attempted to potray this man, so mythical and misunderstood, so known and yet unknown, so contradictorily glorified in the same commercailisation he seemed to detest (yet the same commercialisation that alerted me to this work!)...yes, this book has blessed me with an insight into the heart and soul of a man that all looking to be of any 'social worth' or to make a dent of difference in this world, can only hope to fathom. Everything taken in it's self it seems less than prudent that I should so thoroughly praise and/or rely on a piece by a journalist but Mr. Anderson's methodology does reveal that perhaps us academics ought to take abit of time in properly investigating context, in order to deliver balanced pieces of work, academic or not. This book is a must read, on a man who should be an inspiration for us all, a man who we can only hope to immitate.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Study information, very useful
Published 16 days ago by EEZYEYES
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Book is in perfect condition. Well worth the price.
Published 20 days ago by David
5.0 out of 5 stars Big Book
This is well written, I have only just started but its good. It is huge mind you!
Published 1 month ago by Mr. S. J. Mecrow
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
so far so good...
Published 1 month ago by Shivakumar Muniyappa
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book
Published 1 month ago by michelle pitt
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read
I found this to be a well researched and detailed biography that provided a comprehensive and unbias review of Guevera's life. Read more
Published 2 months ago by MR R P COLHOUN
5.0 out of 5 stars History as it should be undertaken
The author has painstakingly pieced together the various fragments of a man's life to rebuild him from the scattered splinters. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles
5.0 out of 5 stars The complete and compelling life of a man that few really know!
Firstly, i would say well done to Jon Lee Anderson for some fantastic research, he has certainly done his homework! Read more
Published 6 months ago by Gareth
5.0 out of 5 stars Thorough and Detailed
This was a great read and took me a bit of time to get through. Very very detailed and would highly recommend reading this.
Published 8 months ago by John
5.0 out of 5 stars Che Guevara
Bought this as a gift. It looks like a long read, a very thick book.
Received the book quickly, Read the reviews for this book
and it came recommended.
Published 8 months ago by jayne brown
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