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Bolivar: American Liberator | [Marie Arana]

Bolivar: American Liberator

It is astonishing that Simón Bolívar, the great Liberator of South America, is not better known in the United States. He freed six countries from Spanish rule, traveled more than 75,000 miles on horseback to do so, and became the greatest figure in Latin American history. His life is epic, heroic, straight out of Hollywood: he fought battle after battle in punishing terrain, forged uncertain coalitions of competing forces and races, lost his beautiful wife soon after they married and died relatively young, uncertain whether his achievements would endure.
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Publisher's Summary

It is astonishing that Simón Bolívar, the great Liberator of South America, is not better known in the United States. He freed six countries from Spanish rule, traveled more than 75,000 miles on horseback to do so, and became the greatest figure in Latin American history. His life is epic, heroic, straight out of Hollywood: he fought battle after battle in punishing terrain, forged uncertain coalitions of competing forces and races, lost his beautiful wife soon after they married and never remarried (although he did have a succession of mistresses, including one who held up the revolution and another who saved his life), and he died relatively young, uncertain whether his achievements would endure.

Drawing on a wealth of primary documents, novelist and journalist Marie Arana brilliantly captures early 19th-century South America and the explosive tensions that helped revolutionize Bolívar. In 1813 he launched a campaign for the independence of Colombia and Venezuela, commencing a dazzling career that would take him across the rugged terrain of South America, from Amazon jungles to the Andes mountains. From his battlefield victories to his ill-fated marriage and legendary love affairs, Bolívar emerges as a man of many facets: fearless general, brilliant strategist, consummate diplomat, passionate abolitionist, gifted writer, and flawed politician.

A major work of history, Bolívar colorfully portrays a dramatic life even as it explains the rivalries and complications that bedeviled Bolívar’s tragic last days. It is also a stirring declaration of what it means to be a South American.

©2013 Marie Arana (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

What Members Say

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  •  
    Jean Santa Cruz, CA, United States 07-19-13
    Jean Santa Cruz, CA, United States 07-19-13 Member Since 2010

    I am an avid eclectic reader.

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    "Absolutely fantastic book!"

    Marie Arana wrote a great biography of Bolivar, she covered not only the positive but the negative aspects of the man. Arana's prose is often beautiful, it is apparently from the writing she is a novelist turned biographer. The story almost reads as a historical novel, she keeps your attention to every word. Arana brings the story to life, the reader feels as if one is there and part of the action. Bolivar was a 19th Century leader, born in Venezuela.
    He was born into a wealthy family and received education both in his home country but also in Spain and France. What he accomplished is mind boggling! The military action lasted twice as long as the U.S. revolution and territory cover was 7 times larger. He led both a revolution and a civil war. Bolivar evicted Spain from a million square miles of territory in an eleven year campaign. Battles fought against a trained Spanish army of superior numbers. His army had to go on superhuman marches though rain swollen jungles and over snow-capped Andes Mountains to fight the battles often with only a few days rest. He freed the area now called Venezuela, Panama, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. The book explains why Bolivar thought the U.S. type of democracy would not work in South America with it mixed races of creole, indigenous Indians, black slaves, Spanish and other Europeans. Arana explains Bolivar belief, the three hundred years of tyranny by Spain and how, Spain deliberately kept the people un-educated and pitted against each other, were not ready to govern themselves. He thought that at a later date, a British type of government was better, but he made the mistake of setting up the area for rule by dictators . Arana explains how he ended up dying poor and hated by the people but later brought back to hero status. David Crommett did a good job narrating the story and all the Spanish names. If you are interested in history and would like to learn more about our neighbors to the south you will enjoy this book.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alfredo 08-02-13
    Alfredo 08-02-13
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    "There will be blood."
    Any additional comments?

    I was completely absorbed by this audiobook! As a Venezuelan, I superficially studied Bolívar's life and the War of Independence in school, but the version I learned was very politically correct. This book shows both the strengths and weaknesses of The Liberator, and that made the experience all the more enlightening. I wish this had been available when I was a teenager! Personally, I wasn't aware of how brutal all participating sides had been during the conflict! Yikes! In that sense, this was an eye opener. Yes, there was courage and sacrifice, but also a surreal amount of violence and bloodshed. I was shocked and saddened by this perspective. The book includes a lot of detail without ever being even slightly tedious. No matter where you're from, chances are you'll be similarly fascinated with the history. There's much to learn from it and it would easily make an epic blockbuster movie.

    The narrator did a great job, only he constantly mispronounces the name of the city of Coro: the accent is on the first syllable, not the second! This is irritating as the city plays a recurrent role in the life of Bolívar and its name is repeated hundreds of times. Crommett's awful pronunciation of French words (mainly names and cities) is also a bit annoying, but there's a very limited number of these. What's most important is that he reads at a very nice pace (not too slowly or too quickly) and both his English and Spanish are very clear.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Suzanne Poland, OH, United States 08-01-13
    Suzanne Poland, OH, United States 08-01-13
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    "There were a lot of battles."

    I knew very little about Bolivar and this was enlightening. The man seemed to spend his life in battle and in bed. The battles got boring. Interesting insights at the end were helpful in understanding the continuing dictator problems in South America.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    W. Sid Vogel 10-23-14
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    "EXCELLENT BIOGRAPHY AND HISTORY!"
    What made the experience of listening to Bolivar the most enjoyable?

    I am a student of Latin American history, and I have never read a better history of Bolivar, the man, his times and the events of the 20 year struggle for independence from Spain and trying to bring democratic order out of the chaos that resulted from the defeat of Spanish forces.


    What other book might you compare Bolivar to and why?

    Samuel E Morison's "Admiral of the Ocean Seas" about the life of Columbus is the very best biography I have ever read, and it won a Pulitzer. This history and biography of Bolivar was almost on par with that great biography. The author lets us understand the times, the life, the events, and the results of Bolivar's astonishing efforts. Great read, great book.


    Have you listened to any of David Crommett’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    This was a great listen. Easy to listen to and to understand. it is a great story well told.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    The amazing life of Bolivar.


    Any additional comments?

    Recommend this book to anyone wanting to understand modern day Latin America. No one can understand the current conditions of Latin America without understanding its history, Bolivar was a big piece of the history of the land and its people.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sam Motes Tampa 06-23-14
    Sam Motes Tampa 06-23-14 Listener Since 2009

    Audible obsessed lifelong learner.

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    "The liberator of Latin America"

    This book tracks Bolivar from youth through his military campaigns that impacted most of Latin America through his fall from grace and near destitution late in Life. Reject by the people he fought to free late in Life yet still a galvanizing force in the politics of Latin America today.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rhea Fort Worth, TX, United States 03-04-14
    Rhea Fort Worth, TX, United States 03-04-14 Member Since 2013

    short, fat, and stupid.

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    "Yes, yes, a thousand times yes!!!"

    As good as a history read can be. Due to a life lived as well as person could. I would give 10 stars if I could, for it is not every day that an audio book brings tears to my eyes.
    Yes! Yes! A thousand times yes!! Viva Bolivar!!!!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    mike poughkeepsie, ny, United States 02-23-14
    mike poughkeepsie, ny, United States 02-23-14 Member Since 2011
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    "Excellent and Informative"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    yes. for anyone who wishes to learn about the life of bolivar and his continuing impact in south america


    What other book might you compare Bolivar to and why?

    well, i have been listening to a biography of george washington (much longer than this one).
    both monumental historical figures. yet with entirely different legacies. bolivar failed as a politician and became a divisive figure. washington succeeded as both a leader in war and peace.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    no answer


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    not really


    Any additional comments?

    wonderful, balanced history of an incredible man.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bernard 10-01-13
    Bernard 10-01-13
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    "An Incredible Life"

    If you are only tangentially aware of this American icon, this is a perfect place to learn the amazing story of the "Liberator". Sweeping in scope, and detailed in the telling, this biography combines historical sweep with a great storyline. The narration is crisp and clear. Recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Holger CHICAGO, IL, United States 08-25-13
    Holger CHICAGO, IL, United States 08-25-13 Member Since 2010

    I am from Chicago. Enjoy reading listening to audio books such as Robert. B. Parker, Ian Douglas, Taylor Anderson, Jac Cambel an social work

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    "Bolivar South American Fredom Fighter."
    Where does Bolivar rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    One of the best writing and audio book I heard so far.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Bolivar. The author show him as a real person with his falts and issues. Even so he was able to free a several nations.


    What three words best describe David Crommett’s voice?

    Clear, engaging.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a great book to listen. The author did a great job of showing Bolivar as a person with many issues and broght him to as a human who made mistake and not as people see him as a perfect man.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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