Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life - 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.