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Companero: The Life and Death of Che Guevara Paperback – October 27, 1998


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (October 27, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679759409
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679759409
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,040,345 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

With the partial opening of Cuban archives to foreign scholars and increased access to Cuban historical individuals come back to back two important new biographies of the Argentinean-born Cuban revolutionary leader and ideologue, Che Guevara. First there was American journalist Jon Lee Anderson's Che Guevara (LJ 4/15/97) and now this one, by one of Mexico's leading political writers and a professor of international affairs (New York Univ.). Though the two volumes cover similar territory, they are not the same. Anderson's volume is the larger and occasionally includes greater detail on aspects of Che's life, but Casta?eda takes more of an academic approach and is better at placing Che in the context of Cuban and world history. Anderson writes journalistically, while Casta?eda is perceptive and creative. This biography is an important addition to our understanding of Che and the Cuban revolution and will be valuable to any library interested in the history of the 20th century.
-?Mark L. Grover, Brigham Young Univ., Provo, Utah
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From The New Yorker

Che's life following the revolution's triumph was a slow accretion of wreckage, and it is in the narration of this collapse that Companero, Jorge Castaneda's beautiful and passionate biography, is most lucid.... Castaneda is as unflinching as his hero: he has searched CIA records and the recollections of Guevara's closest comrades in order to prise away layers of after-the-fact justifications and embellishments of the Che legend. In the process, he makes Ernesto Guevara understandable at last, and his predicament deeply moving. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Well written, informative, well researched, unbiased.
Black Cat
Its difficult to confront a personality like Che Guevara without falling in his charm.
Reading for a better world
I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in learning more about Che.
"hermia1596"

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Reading for a better world on May 7, 2005
Format: Paperback
This work by jorge G. Castañeda is one of the very best biographies you can find on Ernesto Guevara by many reasons:

1. The historical chronology is accesible for everybody, but the good interpretation of those events is only at the reach of those who know the intricated aspects of diplomacy and polithics. Castañeda has done a great job understanding the polithical personalities of Guevara, Fidel, Kennedy, Kruschev and all the charachters of this saga. He signals both sides of each personality.

2. This work is obsessively well documented. Castañeda has had access to many fundamental documents for this history. From American agencies, to British and Soviet services. He takes us not only to what history says but to why the builders of history wanted it to be that way. His amount of interviews is outstanding too, the revelations on the interviews match the information on the secret documents.

3. Its difficult to confront a personality like Che Guevara without falling in his charm. Its difficult to be objective on an image that is on the chests of many generations. But Castañeda accomplishes that. He decidedly points the many mistakes that Guevara did directing the Central Bank, or the Industry Ministry. He focuses on the distance that Guevara took between idealism and dogma with economic fundamentals, this was a fatal mistake. Castañeda analyzes thoroughly how many of the guerrilla efforts of Guevara in other countries ended in failures and finally in death (Congo, Argentina, Bolivia, etc). But Castañeda also analyzes the outstanding kind of leadership that made of Guevara an icon.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Black Cat on October 2, 2004
Format: Paperback
I read this book immediately following Jon Lee Anderson's "Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life"...I didn't think I would be as impressed, but I was. I recommend both books for anyone who wants to get a real picture of Che...I would suggest starting with Anderson's and following with this one, as I did.

Well written, informative, well researched, unbiased. Highly recommended.
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29 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Bobby D. on December 10, 2004
Format: Paperback
Seeing the recent movie "The Motorcycle Diaries" brought me to read this biography of Che Guevara. I highly recommend the film, and with reservations recommend Castaneda's biography of Che. At the time, I did little research into which Che biography would be "best" so I can not reference other Che biographies. I found this in many passages a tiring read, especially in the middle section, which covers Che's career as Cuba's lead economic bureaucrat.

The book does not idealize Che although I suspect the author admires at least many of Che's humanitarian beliefs. Castendeda is excellent at pointing out a lot not to like about Che and his activities. It portrays Che as an enigma, as a very intuitive mind with an idealists somewhat naive view of human nature.

Che wanted a better world for the underclass, and yet Che determines to do build this better world not by the practice of medicine, he was a doctor, but by insisting that only by violent revolution can it be achieved.

Castandeda begins with a great review of Che's early life, his asthma (he fought being a constant prisoner to the constraints of the decease), and influence of his mother, and ends with a very interesting interpretation of why he has become a cultural icon. He follows Che on a path to what Castaneda calls his "Christ like" status in death. He places Che in context of the history of the times and within each setting, what Argentina was like when he grew up, Cuba when he fought by Castro's side, the later the "failures" in the Congo and Bolivia.

I was rather surprised to find myself seeing Che as a character in Woody Allen's "Bananas" film as I read of Che's actual efforts to export revolution to the Congo and Bolivia.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Machaen on March 14, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is absolutely the most academic, objective read on Che I have come across. Most books either romanticize this complex, dashing, revolutionary communist leader, or they speak from personal tragedy experienced, directly or indirectly, from " the brains behind the cuban revolution". However, this author works from copious research, givIng the reader almost overwhelming footnotes, which makes for an active read as opposed to a leisurely read for recreation. You will definently have to work to grip the information given, but if you want an unbiased view of this argentine guerrilla, this book is a must read and more intellectually honest then any other bio on Che.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Alfred Johnson on July 5, 2006
Format: Paperback
This year marks the 53rd anniversary of the Cuban July 26th movement, the 47th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution and the 39th anniversary of the execution of Ernesto `Che' Guevara by the Bolivian Army after the defeat of his guerilla forces and his capture in godforsaken rural Bolivia. Thus, it is fitting to review the biography of the life of a man who stood for my generation, the Generation of '68, and for later generations as an icon of revolutionary intransigence. This writer has read a few earlier biographies of Che, which a reading of the author's footnotes will guide the reader toward, but selected this biography for several reasons. First, it was published in 1997 when, after the demise of the Soviet Union and other Eastern European states, more sources became available and thus a more rounded picture could be found for the enduring legacy of Che. Second, the author has done an excellent job of interviewing Che's associates, political opponents, fellow revolutionaries, fellow ministry workers and flat- out agents of American imperialism to get their take on Che. In fact, the author has presented a range of hypothesizes, facts and just pure guesses by these interviewees for every controversial aspect of Che's life from his troubled childhood to the still immense speculation around the circumstances of his early death under fire and in struggle.

Let us be clear about two things.
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Companero: The Life and Death of Che Guevara
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