Review

A nice Che-centric biography, covering his journey from bourgeois medical student to radical/left armed revolutionist. Most of his history is well known, of course, but the book also included coverage of his frustrating and mostly failed efforts to organize Congolese fighters in the aftermath of the assassination of Patrice Lumumba - an episode that I wasn’t familiar with.

Guevara had the idea that Latin America was ripe for a continent-wide revolution against imperialism and the local elites, and that the Cuban model of guerrilla warfare was the way to ignite that revolution. Cuba’s own experience - the all-out economic and military opposition directed by the US - should have been a warning that success was unlikely. Interestingly, one of the reasons for failure in Bolivia was that some form of land reform had already been instituted, thus ensuring that the peasantry was not as motivated to assist the revolution. That, plus the nonstop US / Bolivian propaganda against the rebels, turned the local population against Che and his forces, and led, ultimately, to his capture and murder.

But he remains an iconic figure (literally), in large part due to his genuine and sincere devotion to bettering the lives of the poor and oppressed, and also his courage and dedication to the cause.

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