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Guerrilla Warfare Paperback – September 1, 1998

ISBN-13: 978-0803270756 ISBN-10: 0803270755 Edition: 1st
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Ches volume is the other side of the coin, as he details his style of hit-and-run tactics that were paramount to the overthrow of Cubas government and the establishment of the Castro regime that Didions Cubans fled from. Published in 1969, this sports three of Ches most famous essays on guerrilla combat tactics.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.


A fine document describing the struggles in seven South American countries, this remains a useful tool in today's world. (The Bookwatch)

This interesting book is more than a mere translation of Che Guevara's handbook on how to be a guerrilla fighter. Rather, the translation of Guevara's historic work, Guerrilla Warfare, and two of his later pieces, 'Guerrilla Warfare: A Method" and "Message to the Tricontinental," are nestled between an informative and well-developed introduction and essays describing the struggles in seven South American countries whose guerrilla movements were inspired by Che Guevara's writings and beliefs. . . . This work is quite useful for anyone who desires to understand the struggles occurring around the world today. (Journal Of International Law and Politics)

Aside from Che's own compelling rhetoric, the case histories demonstrate Che's influence and the application of his analysis in very specific terms. . . . Those who teach courses on the Third World or on the history of Latin America since World War II should welcome this volume. (Hispanic American Historical Review)

Che's insights are just as alive today as they were when he first wrote them down in 1960. (Latin America In Books)

For teaching purposes this volume is extremely worthwhile. The evaluation of guerrilla experiences is on the whole judicious, the prose highly readable, and the package coherent. (Journal of Latin American Studies) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 175 pages
  • Publisher: Bison Books; 1st edition (September 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803270755
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803270756
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.3 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #940,327 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ernesto Che Guevara was born in Argentina in 1928. After fighting alongside Fidel Castro in the three-year guerilla war in Cuba, he became Minister for Industry following the victory of the Cuban revolution. In 1966 he established a guerilla base in Bolivia. He was captured and killed in 1967.

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

63 of 66 people found the following review helpful By Eric H. Chang on December 24, 2005
Format: Paperback
Whether you idolize or loathe Ernesto Che Guevara, it is undeniable that his revolutionary spirit and idealism are almost without comparison in history. This book provides a glimpse into Che's thoughts and plans for the future after the succesful otherthrow of the dictator Fulgencio Batista by Castro's Cuban revolutionaries.

Most of the book itself (123 pages of it) is an actual handbook on how to conduct guerilla warfare in an environment like the Sierra Maestra mountains. This part of the book is interesting for its brief explanations of how to make tank traps, molotov cocktails, and for its exploration of guerrila tactics, all discussed in a clearly didactic style. There are multiple instances in this part of the book where Che explicitly outlines the conditions that are absolutely necessary for successful guerilla warfare. However, it is his own neglect of these basic conditions that led to his eventual capture and execution in Bolivia (this is obviously not in the book). I personally, found Che's exploration of the guerilla fighter's psyche and motivations more interesting than the dated fighting tactics.

The book also contains two of Che's essays where he reveals his internationalism and calls upon the replication of revolution based on Cuba's example. In his "Message to the Tricontinental", he famously calls for the creation of "many Vietnams". These essays give the reader a sense of Che's long-standing antipathy towards the United States and other imperialistic regimes.

If you believe that armed struggle via guerilla warfare is the primary means for revolution, then you need to read this book (and find a jungle to carry out your revolution). If you don't believe that the "staccato singing of machine guns" will be able to bring down imperialist regimes, then this book may upset you or intrigue you for its irrelevance. Either way, it is a glimpse into the mind of a truly quixotic revolutionary.
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40 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Rachel L. Steen on September 8, 2004
Format: Paperback
A very insightful description of what was like to fight a guerrilla warfare in Latin America in the revolutionary 1960s. However, I would say that instead of being the "bible" for revolutionary guerrillas, Che's book was more or less a set of guidelines that drew most of its theory from his experience in Cuba. Che thought the conditions for guerrilla warfare could be created, rather than resulting from a set of vital circumstances for a revolutionary army to evolve, such as widespread discontent with the status quo and a pattern of repression that comes prior to a popular armed struggle. Again, because Che takes his theory from the Cuban campaign, it only deals with rural warfare, in a predominantly rural country. Forty years afterwards, most of the population in Latin America live in Urban centers, and Che's theory is far outdated to deal with events nowadays

In "guerrilla warfare" Che still highlights an unavoidable truth: strong support from the population is vital to keep an insurgency alive, if not victorious.

The "Shining Path" guerrillas in Peru lost popular ground because they alienated the peasants by repressing them as bad as the Army

In Colombia, the FARC have lost to the army vast areas formerly under its control because they have engaged in atrocities that have brought about considerable support in favor of a hardline government

In contrast, the Zapatistas in southern Mexico still are holding on, because they have not only support in their country, but also abroad

The reviewer who said that guerrillas (not 'gorillas') could no longer deal with a sophisticated counterinsurgency army, may want to give a look at the Iraqi fiasco.
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Luis Paredes, Jr. on April 15, 2002
Format: Paperback
Che Guevara's "Guerilla Warfare" is an excellent read invaluable to those studying latin american history, guerilla warfare and/or Guevara himself.
This is not, as Guevara put it, a guerilla warfare bible; it is a guide or outline that's meant to be improved on. He covers topics from the basics of guerilla strategy, proper guerilla conduct to what equipment to bring the field.
Guevara's book is very, very fascinating. You don't have to be a military strategist, a communist or guerilla fighter to enjoy this book. He wrote it in a very clear and consice manner that's easy to read. I think people of all backgrounds will find this book engrossing.
Again, "Guerilla Warfare" is an excellent read and fleshes out even more the man on every disgruntled anarchist's t-shirt.
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31 of 37 people found the following review helpful By TheIrrationalMan on August 16, 2001
Format: Paperback
Part theoretical treatise, part manual for guerilla tactics and strategy, Che Guevara, in his thesis, attempts to provide a formula for the creation and of a small, armed and disciplined guerrilla band which, he believes, would be capable of overthrowing a large organised army. The book is animated by an impassioned desire to whip up a hemispheric socialist revolution in the aftermath of his succesful invasion of Cuba in 1956, in which he, along with Fidel Castro, among others, set the stage for the overthrow of the Batista dictatorship. Guevara discusses the qualities needed by the successful guerrilla warrior, the organisation of the guerrilla band, the methods of indoctrination and training and the tactics that should be employed to guarantee the defeat of large disciplined forces. He stresses the mobility of the guerrilla band, which is a major geographical advantage over large government armies, who are limited to a relatively stationary position due to their bulk. While the enemy loses weapons, the guerrillas retrieve them, thus gaining strength by virtue of the enemy's weakness. He draws attention to the fact that, owing to their increased mobility and flexibility, the guerrillas can remain hidden, while the enemy has no option but to remain exposed. These are precepts of solid value, culled out from Guevara's own experience as organiser of a guerrilla force. His boldest theoretical claim, however, which may be called Marxist-Leninist in its orientation, is the belief that a socialist society can be realised by the peasants, Indians and rural proletariat of Latin America without any of the economic conditions that, as orthodox Marxists insist, are essential for a successful revolution against capitalism. The guerrilla forces, as such, become the vanguard of the revolution.Read more ›
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