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Bolivar and the War of Independence: Memorias del General Daniel Florencio O'Leary, Narracion (Texas Pan American Series) Paperback – Abridged, 1 Jan 1975
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"These Memoirs of O'Leary ... are without a doubt the best work ever published in the English language on the life and deeds of Simon Bolivar, the great Liberator of five South American countries... The book is full of interesting vignettes, where O'Leary with great candor and sincerity virtually takes the reader by the hand into the inner sanctum of the great Liberator... a thoroughly enjoyable, condensed version." Inter-American Review of Bibliography
About the Author
Daniel Florencio O'Leary (c. 1802-1854) took an active part in the wars for Latin American independence, first as a young officer, recruited in the British Isles to aid the patriot cause, and later as Bolivar's chief aide, often entrusted with diplomatic missions. Robert F. McNerney, Jr., received Ph.B. and Ph.D. degrees from Yale University and taught Spanish at several universities.
Top Customer Reviews
This book is an abridged translation of O’Leary’s biography of Bolivar (2 of the 29 volumes of the monumental “Memoirs of O’Leary”) and ends in 1826, when Bolivar is triumphant, having liberated half of South America from Spanish colonial rule. It is partisan, but being quite a Bolivarian myself, I found this most delightful. Unfortunately, it does not cover the last three years of The Liberator’s life. For a full life, the reader is advised to refer to Lievano Aguirre, Masur, Lynch or Harvey but to avoid the one-sided and bitter Madariaga.
Although an “incomplete” biography, the book is worth reading as it is justly regarded as the best contemporary account of South America’s Wars of Independence. We follow Bolivar’s campaigns in Colombia and Venezuela which ended in the victories of Vargas and Boyaca (1819) and Carabobo (1821) and which involved an epic crossing of the Andes. We accompany The Liberator in his wars in the south, which culminated in the liberation of Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia, following battles such as Bombona, Pichincha, Junin and Ayacucho. O’Leary fought side by side Bolivar for most of the period 1818-1830 and therefore offers a unique eyewitness perspective.
Daniel Florencio (Florence) O’Leary is a familiar figure for Latin American historians. Born in Cork (Ireland) in 1800, O’Leary came to South America in 1818 and served in Bolivar’s army, reaching the rank of brigadier. Following Bolivar’s death in 1830, he was forced to leave Colombia but returned to the country in 1842 as British Minister and died in Bogota in 1854. He was Simon Bolivar’s aide-de-camp and trusted friend and is one of the fathers of Colombia’s diplomatic service.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
For someone not familiar with the geography of Venezuela, Colombia, Bolivia and Peru, the progress of the wars and the battles will be very difficult follow since many locations were liberated from the Spanish, recaptured by the royalist, re-liberated several times as the fighting progressed. The cruelty and atrocities of the Spanish, and at times revolutionaries added a dimension to the conflict that may surprise some readers.
The intrigues and the interplay of the principals gives a better insight to how difficult the wars of independence were, especially when comparing them to the American Revolution.