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Stranger Than... - The Motorcycle Diaries: Notes on a Latin American Journey Paperback – 5 Feb 2007


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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; (Reissue) edition (5 Feb 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007241712
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007241712
  • Product Dimensions: 19.2 x 12.8 x 1.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,286,197 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

‘It’s true: Marxists just wanna have fun.’ Guardian

'What distinguishes these diaries is that they reveal a human side to El Che which historians have successfully managed to suppress…one senses El Che's belief that determination and conviction can be enough to change one's self and others…a joy to read from start to finish.' Financial Times

'Political incorrectness galore…his book should do much to humanise the image of a man who found his apotheosis as a late Sixties cultural icon. It is also, incidentally, a remarkably good travel book about South America.' Scotsman

‘Politically-correct revolutionary hero? Perhaps a few years later, but in this account Che Guevara comes over as one of the lads.’ Bike News

About the Author

Ernesto Che Guevara was born in Argentina in 1928. After fighting alongside Fidel Castro in the three-year guerilla war in Cuba, he became Minister for Industry following the victory of the Cuban revolution. In 1966 he established a guerilla base in Bolivia. He was captured and killed in 1967.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By H. Greensmith on 6 Sep 2006
Format: Paperback
I thought the 2004 film "Diarios de Motocicleta" was beautiful, with enthralling performances from Gael Garcia Bernal and sumptuous South American scenery. However the film has been accused of glorifying "El Che" and neglecting to feature the darker elements to his soul, rendering Guevara a squeaky-clean paragon of charity.

The book, on the other hand (on which the film was based) seems to convey many facets of Guevara's character, from a genuine care for the welfare of the peasants he encounters, to a cheeky "laddishness" including a "bad case of the runs" which the young Guevara directs onto his host's sun dried peaches! Finally we witness the hardening of Guevara's character into a rather bloodthirsty revolutionary intent on seeking justice for the downtrodden of South America.

Although the book is not short of adventure, to read this book merely as a travel journal would diminish some of its most poignant features. Through the impact of each experience we can chart the shaping of Ernesto Guevara into the figure he became. The book also offers a mystical perspective on some of South America's secrets including its silent mountains and lakes and the vibrancy of the people, unfortunately often combined with desperate poverty.

Unforgettable.
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57 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Music fan on 17 Aug 2002
Format: Paperback
In the brief preamble to his 'The Motorcycle Diaries', Che Guevara sets us straight by telling us to read the work as a record of a journey undertaken by the man he "once was". This statement is, in fact, a direct reference to the author's method of working, which was to make extensive notes whilst travelling and then to transcribe and polish the narrative up to a year later. Forewarned is forearmed, however, and 'The Motorcycle Diaries' is possibly not a book for aficionados of the iconoclastic Che, the one that has adorned countless posters and T-shirts since his untimely death trying to spark off a new Vietnam in Bolivia in 1967.
In 'The Motorcycle Diaries' we can still find Che the adventurer and , moreover, there is clear evidence of a heart sensitive to the plight of the poor guasos (Chilean peasants) and other indigenous South American Indians encountered along the way. There are also signs that Che was beginning to awaken politically. (See, for example, his references to the material and cultural differences between the Chilean copper mine foremen - "blond and efficient, insolent administrators. ..the Yankee masters" - and the poor native miners . ) However, it is a far lighter , younger soul that we get in this work, one not yet fully locked-into revolutionary idealism.
'The Motorcycle Diaries' is actually a blow by blow account of the journey Che and Alberto Granado undertook across five Latin America countries between 1951-52. The journey occurred during an extended sabbatical from Che's medical studies at the University of Buenos Aires. (He did, in fact, manage to complete the six year course to become a doctor of medicine at this institution in just three years).
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Mr. K. Papas on 3 Nov 2005
Format: Paperback
In this book of Che Guevara's diaries one discovers what compelled this upper-middle class student of medicine to become possibly the most iconic of guerillas and champion of the repressed. He leaves Buenos Aires a naive student with his best friend to tour South America on a battered old motorcycle. The poverty, deprivation and exploitation that they saw along their travels changed Guevara forever and ultimately led to his death in a Bolivian jungle years later. A fascinating account for those wishing to scratch beneath the surface of the cheesy Che T-Shirts and posters.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By John Smith on 11 Aug 2009
Format: Paperback
A very important book for people who want to know about the real 'Che', not the one who is idolised on T-shirts.

Even if he wasn't famous, this would still be enjoyable... He was a complex character, who cared deeply about the poor of the world, but in the book he didn't mind committing petty thievery, and wasn't embarrasse about some attempts he made with married women. He was very youthful, full of life, very vivacious. It's a short book and a great one.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By James Mimna on 7 Jan 2005
Format: Paperback
I found this to be an enjoyable book to read, it is well written with some rather poetic sections. For the most part this is a book about two adventurers setting out to explore their native continent and living as the indigenous people do, a feat I dare say we have all though about at one state or another. Reading through it you can see some of the sights that must have angered and spared him on.
There are some hilarious tales that happen to the two and some nice descriptive parts about the wonderful scenery of S.America and of the ancient civilisations that once inhabited it.
No tales of revolution, but this is not a book about that; this is a book of adventure and the foundation of Ernesto.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 8 Dec 1998
Format: Paperback
I found this book entertaining and interesting yet I could not help wondering how much of it WAS written by the 22 year old Ernesto and how much of it was written by the older "Che" in Cuba. I felt that too much was added in hindsight for the book to truly work. It felt like I was being presented with an "On The Road" copy mixed with why a young medical student became a great revolutionary.... and don't get me wrong, I admire Che enormously. I feel the book should not be taken as a great work of literature or philosophy. The only importance this book holds is that it was written by a great man whose memory will live on a lot longer than the memory of "The Motorcycle Diaries". Not everything a great person does is great, sometimes the things they do can be, in this case, just ok.
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