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The Motorcycle Diaries: A Journey Around South America Hardcover – May 17 1995

4.4 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 166 pages
  • Publisher: Verso; First Edition edition (May 17 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1859849717
  • ISBN-13: 978-1859849712
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 14.2 x 1.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 408 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,057,629 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Argentine revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara became Fidel Castro's chief lieutenant in the Cuban revolution, Cuba's minister for industry and later a guerrilla in Bolivia, where he was captured and executed in 1967. This high-spirited travel diary of Guevara's eight-month motorcycle journey across Argentina, Chile, Peru, Brazil, Colombia and Venezuela as a 23-year-old medical student in 1951-52 mixes lyrical observation, youthful adventure and anti-imperialist political analysis. With a doctor friend as traveling companion, Guevara stows away on a cargo ship, explores Inca ruins, volunteers as a fireman, visits a leper colony and displays solidarity with miners and farm workers. Guevara's snide passing remarks targeting blacks, homosexuals and Jews reveal an unpleasant side of the countercultural icon. On balance, this candid journal, part self-discovery, part fieldwork, glimmers with portents of the future revolutionary.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.


'It's true; Marxists just wanna have fun.' Guardian 'Politically-correct revolutionary hero? Perhaps a few years later, but in this account Che Guevara comes over as one of the lads.' Bike News '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 --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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By A Customer on Dec 18 2001
Format: Paperback
this is one of the best things i have ever read. it's che guevara as a human being, a young man, before he became a political figure and a romaticised icon. no, it's not a marxist book per se, it's not even very political. but it's not supposed to be 'das kapital' -- it's che's journals, his thoughts, feelings, observations on his journey through south america at 23 and the adventures, people, and day-to-day hardships he and his friend alberto faced. though it does show how his political views were developed, i don't even think that's the most important thing. the really great thing about this book is that it lets the reader into che's mind -- and heart -- not only as a revolutionary but as a human being. ten million stars.
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Format: Paperback
Che's Motorcycle Diaries is a non-politicized odyssey around South America, full of comical high jinks and adventure. The 23 year old, pre-revolutionary Che is a talented travel writer with an abundance of humor and an observant eye for the human condition. The Motorcycle Diaries reflects intimate insight of the young man who would one day become a legend.
Praise needs to go to Ann Wright, the translator, who maintained the integrity of the Diaries.
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Format: Paperback
It is a beautiful thing to see the political awakening of a young man. And it becomes even more notorious when we know that this man will be a true revolutionary years later.
'The Motorcycle Diaries' is the account of a journey made by Ernesto 'Che' Guevara and his friend Alberto Granado throughout South America in early 1950's. Beginning as a pair of youngsters' journey, this trip become more a self-discovering journey having as background the impoverished and exploited, but above all, not well known America.
As most young people, Che and Granado had late-adolescent angst and trying to find a relief they went in a journey in the heart of South America, trying to find what was beyond their middle-class homes. What they find out was much more than what they were expecting to: poor people, with almost no conditions of living, consumed by diseases and being exploited and ignored by the government and the system.
It is a joy to see Che transforming from almost a brat into a real man of value, fulfilled with social and political conscience, caring for the poor and sick people. At first, he and his friends are only two guys who want to be on the road and learn about the world. But little did they know how was this world they were about to learn about.
Nearly the end, Che is another completely different person. He, now, has social and political thoughts --almost Marxist ideas -- about the world we live in and how South America has been systematically exploited throughout the years.
Sometimes painfully funny, sometimes extremely sad 'The Motorcycle Diaries' is a pleasant read, written with heart and soul, by someone who was destined to be big, a person who was destined to change and touch the lives of thousands --as Che did indeed.
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Format: Paperback
In October I went to Cuba and began to learn a tremendous amount about Ernesto "Che" Guevara. Just before reading this book I read two other by him, Reminiscences of a Cuban Revolution and The Che Guevara Reader. If you want to know the man before the revolution, this is the book to read. It is a very interesting book. It is details his trip from his home in Argentina around much of South America. It reads at times like a travel guide which is what I suppose people would write in their travel diaries - what they see and what they thought. My favorite parts were when Guevara told what he thought of life and his experiences while on the road. He writes of the low opinion many people have of the indigenous populations, the exploitation of the land and the populace and the suffering he and his traveling companion endured. The are also very light moments of frivolity and fun. You truly get a sense of who he is and what he values. I was left wanting more, not for want of lack of description but because I wanted to know of who he was. He was a remarkable figure and an great writer. He paints quite a picture with his words.
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Format: Paperback
Click on the image of a young Che sitting in a pensive , relaxed posture as though he is daydreaming. The picture will reveal an image in your mind quite different from the familiar bearded face many have come to associate with Che. The youth and gaze in his eyes is reflective of the book in it's first hand portrayal of a young idealist. The roots of Che's radicalism, that evolved into his believing in Communism and fighting alongside Castro, in Cuba, began with what he saw on a trip he took through South America. His observations on the differences in social classes within various towns shows his astute vision and concern that eventually turned into action.The epic journey Che undetook with his friend is full of anecdotes, frolicking, humor and some keen observations. Setting out from Buenos Aires, Argentina with his best friend, Alberto Granadas, the two start out on a motorcycle along the Atlantic eventually arriving in Caracas , Venezuela. Prior to their departure the first-hand account talks about cutting ties and the lives they left behind . The narrative account makes for a small book that can be read in one sitting or so. In the small time invested an interesting portrait and adventure awaits the reader. The intimacy of the book is life taking the trip side saddle within Che's mind. Incidently, this book is being transformed for the big screen. The production for a soon to be released movie, directed by Brazilian Walter Salles, with young, Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal("Y Tu MamaTambien" & 'Amores Perros") taking the lead role of Che. The book is entertaining and worthwhile for those interested in history and those that have shaped history.
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