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The Motorcycle Diaries: Notes on a Latin American Journey Paperback – 16 Feb 2004

4.5 out of 5 stars 82 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate; New edition edition (16 Feb. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007182228
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007182220
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.2 x 1.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,125,280 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

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…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

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

From the Back Cover

ERNESTO CHE GUEVARA: "The enormity of our endeavor escaped us in those moments; all we could see was the dust on the road ahead and ourselves on the bike, devouring kilometers in our flight northward."

The young Che Guevara's lively and highly entertaining travel diary. This new, expanded edition features exclusive, unpublished photographs taken by the 23-year-old Ernesto on his journey across a continent, and a tender preface by Aleida Guevara offering a highly insightful perspective on her father the man and the icon.

"A journey, a number of journeys. Ernesto Guevara in search of adventure, Ernesto Guevara in search of America, Ernesto Guevara in search of Che. On this journey of journeys, solitude found solidarity, 'I' turned into 'we'." -- Eduardo Galeano

"Our film is about a young man, Che, falling love with a continent and finding his place in it." Walter Salles, Director of "The Motorcycle Diaries" --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 Verified Purchase
What would you say if you were here now Ernesto? That nothing has changed since you drove thousands of miles across humanity? You write these words, light, lyrical, clear, with insight about who we really are. And those monsters you fought are bigger than ever now. They run nations, corporations, they own billions, they corrupt, they consume, they suck everything out this earth. This brief diary of yours should be read by every child.
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Interesting insight into a year of guevaras's life. Arrived very quickly. Many thanks.
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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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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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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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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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I found this quite interesting to read from a content point of view and how the things he saw and experienced shaped him, but in terms of writing style it was quite dry and hard going.

I read the book before I saw the film, and this is one of the few occasions where I enjoyed the film more. As someone who has travelled around South America, I thought it captured the essence of the continent much better.

Definately woth reading if you're interested in Che though.
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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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