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The Motorcycle Diaries Hardcover – 23 May 1995

4.5 out of 5 stars 73 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Verso Books; 1st Edition edition (23 May 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1859849717
  • ISBN-13: 978-1859849712
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 14.2 x 1.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 639,129 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

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

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

'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…this 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

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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.

Ann Wright, the translator, has a doctorate in Cuban history and lived and worked in Argentina for six years.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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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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Format: Paperback
The immediacy of the writing grabs you from start to finish. His journey, which further politicalises his already formed views against injustice, make you wish you had been part of his revolutionary battle. Lets hope for many more of Che's nature to continue the fight for a fairer world. Not only this but you feel able to imagine the natural and cultural beauty of South America and you want to drink too much wine from Chilie and eat too much food while reading it! He was the hero that any of us could be.
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