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Romantic Revolutionary: Simon Bolivar and the Struggle for Independence in Latin America Hardcover – 21 Apr 2011


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Constable (21 April 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849013543
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849013543
  • Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 3.7 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 1.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 942,842 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Book Description

The action-packed story of how South America was liberated from the Spanish Empire and a gripping portrait of the complex, romantic revolutionary, Bolivar, who transformed from El Liberador to dictator and, finally, exile.

About the Author

Robert Harvey is a former member of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, was assistant editor of The Economist, and foreign affairs leader writer for the Daily Telegraph. His books include the highly acclaimed The Wars of Wars and Mavericks. He lives in Powys, Wales.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By David J. Glazier on 5 Jun 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is so badly edited that it is not worth the money!

For example, the port of La Guaira is badly spelt and Los Reyes Católicos are described as Isabella of Aragón and Fernando of Castilla when, in fact, they were Isabella of Castilla and Fernando of Aragón - a major error. Other silly errors include the fact that the author describes Santa Fé de Bogotá as being a Journey to the east of Caracas when, of course, it is a journey to the west. Also, the city of Cúcuta, on the border between Venezuela and Colombia, carries the accent on the first "u", not the second - this error is committed several times as the city is mentioned frequently in the text.

The description of the deplorable and disgraceful behaviour of the Spanish "conquistadores" and subsequent colonists is very accurate. The books of Hugh Thomas, "Rivers of Gold" and "The Golden Age", will give those interested readers more background e.g. the total genocide of the native populations of the Caribbean within two hundred years of the arrival of Columbus.

This book is very critical of Bolívar - I do not believe that Hugo Chávez will allow its sale in the República Bolivariana de Venezuela!

Don't buy it!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By matt b. on 3 May 2011
Format: Hardcover
This is a good read and provides fair detail on Bolivar's life and campaigns. there is little new here, however, and if you have read Lynch's biography there is no real reason to buy this one. If you want more detail on the individual campaigns and a different angle on the South American Wars on Independence in the north of the continent, check out Conquer or Die! by Ben Hughes, a thoroughly entertaining account of the role played by Bolivar's British Volunteers in the campaigns of 1817-1821.

Conquer or Die!: British Volunteers in Bolivar's War of Extermination 1817-21 (General Military)
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By D. Crowley on 14 Aug 2011
Format: Hardcover
Not to rehash any of the previous reviewers points, I will just say I agree. I really wanted to enjoy this book. The pace is good and writing enjoyable as in a novel.
The research is lacking. For example on page 115 he refers to Lord Wellesly as an Englishman. He was born in County Meath Ireland. On page 242 Colonel Rooke was also referred to as an Englishman. He was born in Dublin Ireland. Colonel O'Connor was born in Co. Cork and commander of the (Irish) lancers. On and on I could go, but it would be repetitiveness.

A key figure in Bolivars life Daniel O'Leary is glossed over or referred to as a starry eyed worshiper, page 215. Yet O'Leary was Bolivars military and political strategist and rose to the rank of Brigadier General, never mentioned. He was such a key figure in Bolivars life that when he died in Bogota Colombia, the Venezuelan government removed his remains to Caracas and he is interred with the Liberator himself in the national pantheon. So although he quotes from him extensively, he leaves out his role in Bolivars life other than an aide de camp cum biographer.

As for the the "British Legion" the troops were predominately Irish and except for a few English, Welsh and Scots extras, they had an Irish Identity. So much so that their standard was the Irish Harp that flew over the fortress of Riocacha that fell into their hands in Bolivars inland campaign.

I feel the author is either unwilling to do the research or has a bias towards the role of the Irish in South America.
It is disappointing and with a good researcher and editor it could have been avoided. There is no excuse.
Overall a lot of the facts are misinterpreted or history is being rewritten.

Save your money. I wish I had.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 17 May 2011
Format: Hardcover
It is not possible not to feel empathy to Southamerican patriots fighting against the cruel Spanish rule. But wars in Spanish America, rather than the freedom cry of Americans against Europeans that only happened in earlier peasants uprisings in Mexico (Hidalgo), were the logical result of antagonism between peninsulares and criollos, not what a marxist would call a clash of classes, and more a domestic Spanish issue than an international war. The situation for indians, blacks or mestizos didn't improve under the new-born American republics, and in fact in countries like Argentina or Chile, the independence was the warning shot for the massacre and extermination of amerindians, in industrial numbers, that was to come in the XIX century.

But if you are interested in balanced History, giving to anyone what is his, don't buy this book.

Tha author takes side very fanatically against Spain, more as a football supporter than as a serious Historian.
Harvey fails to notice that american independence wars were civil wars, with Criollos (american-born Spaniards) enrolled in the Spanish army (the army of Venezuelan volunteers -pardos led by Boves- fighting against Bolívar, the colombian mestizo Aqualongo killed because of oaring loyalty to Spain, Páez (first president of Venezuela) changing from one side to the other), and pure european-blood Spaniards fighting under the insurgent flag (Mina and many others).

He is not able to see that those who fought against Spain, from Bolívar to San Martín, were Spanish themselves, Spanish-Americans.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 1 review
I could not have chanced upon a better introduction to this breathtaking story 30 Oct 2014
By mohamed khashoggi - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Although this was the first biography I have read on Simon Bolivar, I could not have chanced upon a better introduction to this breathtaking story. The lead up was especially riveting. Written clearly without losing any of the drama that is so important to capture the historical setting of the mysterious and cruel Spanish Empire.
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