The Young Che
The Making of Che Guevara
The international success of the film "The Motorcycle Diaries" and of the books it is based on makes clear our deep and continuing fascination with the young Che Guevara. Now, this landmark book offers a rich and wider perspective. It constitutes the definitive insider portrait of Che from his birth to the moment he joined Castro to train for the invasion of Cuba - an episode which changed his life - and the course of history - for ever. This volume is assembled from two separate books never previously published in English - "My Son Che" and "A Soldier of the Americas", both written by Che's father, Ernesto Guevara Lynch. It also includes, for the first time anywhere, Che's diary of his bicycle journey around Northern Argentina. In a unique and wonderfully vivid narrative, we are shown Che's bourgeois but nonconformist childhood, the people and books that shaped him and the political events that rocked his teenage years, including the Spanish Civil War and the emergence of Nazism.
Drawing on Che's letters as he travels further and further afield on his journeys into Latin America, the book charts his excitement at what he sees, the spontaneous empathy he feels for those he meets and the humour with which he conveys his feelings - all of which sheds new light on the development of an intrepid, compassionate and adventurous boy who grew to become an iconic hero throughout the world.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
A welcome trove of fresh biographical material about a revolutionary who cast a gargantuan shadow over the 20th century.First published in Britain in 2007, Toledo's translation is culled from two memoirs written by Guevara's adoring father, Ernesto Guevara Lynch. Although rife with hagiography, the volume still paints a vivid portrait of the Argentine medical student who helped topple the Batista regime in Cuba. The first half is mostly in the voice of Guevara Lynch, who died in 1987, and is somewhat hit and miss. His descriptions of the family's tense monitoring from afar of Che's surprising (to them) involvement in the Cuban Revolution are dramatic. But that section and a lengthy account of Che's childhood in Argentina are hindered by chest-swelling paternal pride and frequently flat prose. The real gold comes in Che's voice, heard in an intelligently edited series of journal entries and letters that comprise the bulk of the book. Discovered five years after his death in the basement of the Buenos Aires apartment building where his family lived, the journal entries describe his solo 1950 motorcycle trip through northern Argentina; they make a colorful travelogue and a nice complement to the better-known account of his 1952 odyssey across South America. Che's correspondence with his extended family brings him even more alive. Written as he traveled north to Central America, the letters create a strong picture of his powerfully restless intellect, casually warm humor and enduring wanderlust. Che's interests were impressively wide-ranging, from archaeology to allergy research, and his correspondence demonstrates a deep commitment to each of them. The letters' joshing tone doesn't obscure his growing commitment to revolution, particularly after personally witnessing the brutal U.S.-sponsored coup in Guatemala.The Che shown here seems not just a man of history, but somebody it would have been great to know. (Kirkus Reviews)