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Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life | [Jon Lee Anderson]

Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life

Che Guevara was a dashing rebel whose epic dream was to end poverty and injustice in Latin America and the developing world through armed revolution. Jon Lee Anderson traces Che's extraordinary life from his comfortable Argentine upbringing to the battlefields of the Cuban revolution, from the halls of power in Castro's government to his failed campaign in the Congo and his assassination in the Bolivian jungle.
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Publisher's Summary

Che Guevara was a dashing rebel whose epic dream was to end poverty and injustice in Latin America and the developing world through armed revolution.

Jon Lee Anderson traces Che's extraordinary life from his comfortable Argentine upbringing to the battlefields of the Cuban revolution, from the halls of power in Castro's government to his failed campaign in the Congo and his assassination in the Bolivian jungle.

Meticulously researched and full of exclusive information, this work illuminates as never before the mythic figure who embodied the high-water mark of revolutionary communism as a force in history.

©1997 Jon Lee Anderson; (P)2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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  •  
    Matthew Belchertown, MA, United States 08-10-11
    Matthew Belchertown, MA, United States 08-10-11

    Asq ?uestions

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    "Encompassing and Fair Look at an Historical Man"

    The narrator was amazing- his voice was smooth, clear, intelligible, and engaging. I would definitely listen to more books by him.
    If you’re remotely interested in the story of Che Guevara or the Cuban Revolution, then you’re most likely going to enjoy this book. I never felt that the writing was biased either for or against the subject. It seemed to be a fair portrayal of events and not a skewed interpretation of how things should have happened, how they were right/wrong, misguided/ justified, etc. In the end, the writing retold the events as they happened while the reader (listener) was free to make their own correlations or decisions.
    The strongest parts of the book were the retellings of interpersonal relationships and things such as diary entries from Che and stories or conversations between important figures. The web of relations between Che, Castro, the Soviet Union, soldiers, family, Latin America, The U.S, Africa, and other players was one of great intrigue.
    The weaker moments came in retelling specific war strategy and tactics. I didn’t care for the calling out of kilometers walked or mountain top elevations. I was a bit apathetic to the description of troop placements or numbers. I had difficulties remembering locations and names of people, which certainly led to my gray feelings for these things. Let me be clear- these things were not mishandled; they were simply not the most interesting parts for me to listen to.
    I entered with a vague impression of what I thought of Guevara and the Cuban Revolution. Although I’m only beginning to ruminate on what this biography has done for those thoughts, I’ll tell you this: it has made me want to learn more! I knew how the gist of the story progressed and ended, but in no way did those facts diminish from the breadth of what is contained in this book.
    This was a very enjoyable experience. The book was easy to follow and the information I’ve learned from it was easy to digest. I highly recommend this book.

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ismaila Bronx, NY, United States 12-07-11
    Ismaila Bronx, NY, United States 12-07-11 Member Since 2009

    Three favorite authors, from three different continents and three different races: Stefan Zweig, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Chinua Achebe.

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    "Thirty Six Hours of Love, Bravery and Tragedy."

    I was already quite familiar with the story of Che Guevara when I purchased this audiobook. I have a book about him which I read once with great fascination. This audiobook is of an exceptional dimension, with new details that will make it difficult to even pause once you start listening.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pokemonika Stowe, VT 01-06-13
    Pokemonika Stowe, VT 01-06-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Great as a historic document, terrible listen"

    I could not get myself to finish this book. This book goes in very deep in Che's life, to the point of listing every insignificant detail. I think as a historic document the author does a great job compiling all that information. But for a normal person just trying to learn about Guevara's life, it is way to much information, making the book long and sorry to say, boring. The performance doesn't help either. It is read as you would a historic document, so the hours just drag and drag... I got to the 3rd download and gave up.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tom Littleton, CO, United States 01-30-13
    Tom Littleton, CO, United States 01-30-13 Member Since 2011
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    "A complete history of Che Guevara"
    Any additional comments?

    If you are looking for a diatribe that either canonizes or demonizes Che Guevara, look elsewhere. This is a solid and straight forward biographical look into the man who is now legend.

    The author explores his early history and connects the dots that lead him through his life. He avoids, I presume intentionally, delving too deeply into any of the politics. Not that he doesn't address political viewpoints, but rather that his treatment of the politics is historical, not emotional.

    For this reason, the book is sometimes a bit dry. Not every aspect of a person's life makes for compelling theater. But, I give it 5 stars across because it is comprehensive and consistent and delivers exactly upon its promise - to tell you about who Che Guevara was.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elise Gordillo 12-04-12 Member Since 2007
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    "Good story but mildly annoying narrator"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    I enjoyed this book. The storyline is very interesting, though it was a little difficult to keep the characters straight when the narrator is talking about Che's parents and grandparents.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Che Guevara?

    The early years of Che on his motorcycle and the scams he pulls in the towns he visits.


    Did Armando Durán do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    He has a pleasant voice but often mispronounces words, which is annoying since he seems to be a Spanish speaker.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chrissie Brussels, Belgium 09-10-12
    Chrissie Brussels, Belgium 09-10-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Fabulous content and narration"

    I highly recommend this book. All have heard of the icon Che Guevara (May 14, 1928 – October 9, 1967). This book shows you who he really was. His character, his weaknesses and strengths, his life-philosophy and goals, all of this is covered in this book. It is meticulously researched and full of exclusive information, for example previously unavailable information gathered from his second wife. It follows his life chronologically through to his death. After his death, in the epilogue, the lives of his siblings, parents, children and wives are chronicled too. This book is comprehensive. His characteristics are exemplified through his deeds. You are not merely told that he is “a man of principle”, but you are shown how his deeds make him that. I admire Che Guevara and yet he went too far. At least in my opinion. He certainly wanted to help others. He certainly demanded high standards of others, but he demanded the same of himself.

    This book is also about the ideals of socialism. It is about communism and how the Russian and Chinese diverge. It is about the guerrilla warfare. The book is about how these political ideologies spread in Latin America. You learn of how these ideologies played out in all of Latin America, not just in the country of his birth, Argentina, not just in Cuba, but in Nicaragua and Guatemala and Peru and Bolivia and Mexico. The history of all of Latin America from the 30s through the 60s is delineated. Why? Because he had a hand in much of it. You learn of the fight for socialism in the Congo too.

    I am usually not interested in politics. But Che had such devotion to his principles that his enthusiasm spreads and you understand why he does what he does, even if it all goes too far in the end. The author made me understand how Che reasoned. And Che knew his own faults. You see in this book how people change and how they don’t change. How wonderful ideals can get all messed up.

    I feel I know who Che Guevara is after reading this book. I learned a lot about Latin American history. Through his life I became very interested in this history. There are a lot of names and historical facts that will disappear from my head, but something will fasten.

    I listened to an audiobook. The narration, by Armando Durán, was superb. He could read the facts with an appropriate tone. Equally well he made the reader understand Che’s emotions. Beware, this is a very long audiobook - 36 hours and 48 minutes! I found all of it compelling. To really know who Che is you must hear the details. These facts are not boring. The pronunciation of the Spanish names I found difficult to “spell out”. I couldn’t even see them because I had no book in front of me and they are pronounced fluently. Nevertheless I did remember most of who all these people were. Don’t ask me to write out their names because I cannot, but I did recognize who was who as I listened.

    You must know that Che was really called Ernesto. Che means “you, there”! He used to say that all the time to others. That is why others started calling him that. He was trained as a doctor. When he was young he was not at all interested in politics. He had terrible asthma. Can you imagine fighting as a guerrilla with asthma in humid climates? These are just a smattering of some interesting tidbits.

    No, I don’t believe in communism. No, I don’t believe in guerrilla warfare. I still admire Che Guevara. He is a fascinating person. If he didn’t know something, he set himself to learn it. I will put an end to this…..I cannot go on and on telling you about him. I highly recommend this book, but give yourself the time to read it properly.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Vira Pretoria, South Africa 08-30-12
    Vira Pretoria, South Africa 08-30-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Hey Che!"

    I couldn't hold back the tears at the end of this superb biography of Che Guevera, the man heralded as a "Hero of the 20th Century".

    Whether or not one agrees with his political and social views, one must surely admire Che, the man. His character, inner strength, courage, discipline, willingness to sacrifice himself for the greater good, and many other admirable qualities fill the reader with awe during the many hours of listening.

    Here was a man who was true to himself and his beliefs, even in the face of all opposition. An example to all, he walked his talk and lived his life in accordance with those beliefs.

    Armando Duran, the Spanish-speaking narrator, carried out this task perfectly, sounding both factual and compassionate throughout.

    I confess to having lost track at times, of the many names, but appreciate the recognition given Che's comrades for their valour and loyalty. They were very much part of his life and story.

    I felt great sympathy for his family and loved ones, who must have endured much heartache, yet remained constant in their love and support for Che.

    A 5-Star, enriching audiobook, which has taken its place among those of my best, to read again in the future. I don't often rate a book with 5 stars, as I think it blunts the edge when done too often. However, this one deserves it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James 05-01-12
    James 05-01-12 Member Since 2009
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    "This Truly Was A Revolutionary Life!"

    I found that this audio book was one of the types of books that kept getting better and better and better all the way until the very end when it reached a crescendo in the portrayal of this revolutionary figure, Che Guevara.

    I admit, I didn't know much about Che Guevara throughout the years other than seeing his symbolic symbols from time to time emblazoned on T-shirts and graffiti filled walls. To find out that he was such a revolutionary who essentially gave his life in order to try to end poverty and injustice and his homelands in Latin America, sheds a whole new light on him for me. There's not a whole a lot of people who will give their life fighting for anything that they really truly say they believe in, but he's one of them.

    I'm not ready to cast him as a hero of mine just yet, but the author of this audio book did a wonderful job in telling the story of a revolutionary figure who will go down in history as fighting for something that he really truly believed in.

    If you want to learn a few things about the revolutionary era that took place over the last 50 years in Latin America, this would be a fantastic book that would give you great insight to just that!

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    B. Bozeman Knoxville, Tennessee 09-29-11
    B. Bozeman Knoxville, Tennessee 09-29-11 Member Since 2008

    Driving over 100,000 mile a year since 1983, I got hooked on audible books on tape 30 years back. I now listen from my bicycle 2 hours a day

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    "Amazing Detail"

    Everything one could possibly want to know about the life of Che and much more.
    I enjoyed almost all of this 37 hours of Che and I'm impressed with the completeness of the work.
    Well worth the time and credit. It's all here.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Seattle, WA, United States 05-09-10
    James Seattle, WA, United States 05-09-10 Member Since 2009
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    "Wow! What A Great Book!"

    This was a fascinating book and although it's probably the longest book that I've ever listened to (I don't know if I would have read a book of this length) and move a little slowly at first, it came to a riveting conclusion that keep me on the edge of my seat.

    I'm a little young to fully understand and appreciate the social upheavals of the 1950' - 60' other than the 30,000 foot view that I have had most of my life. This book taught me so much in regards to some of those efforts.

    If you're a student of history as I've become, you'll love this book!

    7 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 30 results PREVIOUS123NEXT
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  • A User
    5/23/09
    Overall
    "Very very factual, but also very long."

    An extremely long listen, with heaps of factual detail (too much for me). Haven't managed to get to the end yet as have had to listen to other books in between. Narration is OK but rather monotone. Will pick up the book after an interlude of another couple of books. A perfect read if your studying Che Guevara, but wouldn't recommend if you don't have much time.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Jan
    SkanderborgDenmark
    5/30/09
    Overall
    "Excellent experience"

    The book is very well very written and comprehensive. Well supported by the very good narration.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • April
    Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
    1/18/12
    Overall
    "Hard to put down"

    I was rivited to this listen. Anderson really did his homework. He had access to documents and people that had never before been read/interviewed. It's a great listen. Highly recommended.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Simon
    Shepperton, United Kingdom
    12/14/13
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    Performance
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    "An epic biography on an epic life"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Che Guevara to be better than the print version?

    I bought the audio book on a whim wanting to broaden my book shelf with something I thought might be interested in. I don't think I would have bought the print edition normally.


    What other book might you compare Che Guevara to, and why?

    I could imagine the life of Winston Churchill would be an interesting comparative, Che didn't grow up in the deprived state one might imagine, as I'm sure Winston didn't. If WW2 had gone another way, Winston could have been the revolutionary that turned the tables in a German occupation.


    Have you listened to any of Armando Durán’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    No, but Armando's narration of this book is beautiful. His pronunciation and expression help to keep the book alive and the listener entertained.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It offered an insight in to the amazingly varied life of a man that history has portraid as a revolutionary but started with such a potentially different path.


    Any additional comments?

    It's not a short listen, but with perseverance provides the listener an amazing insight in to the short-lived life of an interesting man, told not only by Che himself through his diaries, but also the people that knew him

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • brian
    biggar, United Kingdom
    7/15/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Awesome"

    It's an awesome book cataloging che,s life and loves etc watched it at the cinema but book was much better. One for the classic shelf to be read over and over again

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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