Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Che Guevara: A Life From Beginning to End by Hourly History - Book Review

This is a short biography on the well known Latin American revolutionary Ernesto 'Che' Guevara by Hourly History. Most of us would have heard of Guevara, if not for his revolution, definitely because of the merchandises around; such as t-shirts, bags,etc. with his face. At least, that was how I got to know about him first.

So, this book starts with how Che Guevara's life as a student of medicine in Buenos Aires and then, the break he took to tour the poorest areas of Latin America which made him very convinced about Communist and left wing ideologies. It then elaborated on how his journey led him to support a revolution in Guatemala against the incumbent dictator Arbenz and the eventual victory of the revolutionaries. The book then talks about the meeting between Raul Castro (Fidel's brother and current head of state of Cuba) and Guevara which led to the meeting with Fidel and beginning of the revolution against the Batista government in Cuba and suppression of the American aided Bay of Pigs Invasion the success of which led to the consolidation of power by Castro and Guevara. The book then talks about his skills as a diplomat in Cuba - striking alliances with Soviet Union, later on with China and also touches upon his travels around Africa and Asia. Eventually, the book focuses on his fallout with Fidel Castro, leading to his exile in Bolivia and eventual downfall.

The book covered nearly every aspect of Guevara, the origins of how he became a revolutionary, his personal life, his skills as a diplomat and final days as a guerilla warrior in Bolivia. The book was also concise and delivered on the promise of giving his biography in an hour.

However, with that said, this has the usual fallout of an Hourly History biography; wherein they try to completely glorify the person involved that the negative aspects of the person whom they have chosen are never brought out. In fact, the book hardly talks about his gruesome killings (despite being a doctor himself), suppression of dissent in Cuba (despite claiming to be a liberal himself), his opposition to foreign presence in Cuba, despite his pursuit of Chinese and Soviet investment in Cuba and ironically, Guevara not being native to Cuba himself, his endorsement of dictators despite his opposition to imperialist suppression. None of these contradictions in Guevara were brought out. However, the book did bring out saying that while people would debate Guevara's legacy; nobody can deny his passion to fight for his convictions; nonetheless, passion is not an excuse for all the things that Guevara did.

However, this book is still a good read for those who wish to know why he has become such a cult figure all over the world as this does tell largely about all the positive aspects of the revolutionary. On the whole, I would award the book a five on ten.

Rating - 5/10

Have a nice day,

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