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62 of 65 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting glimpse into the mind of Che
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...
Published on December 24, 2005 by Eric H. Chang

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30 of 35 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Principles of guerrilla warfare
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...
Published on August 16, 2001 by TheIrrationalMan


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62 of 65 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting glimpse into the mind of Che, December 24, 2005
By 
Eric H. Chang (New York, NY USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Guerrilla Warfare (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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37 of 41 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Behind Che's 'foco' theory, September 8, 2004
By 
Rachel L. Steen "Raquelita" (Lafayette, Louisiana United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Guerrilla Warfare (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. A growing and more sophisticated (in tactics, not in equipment) guerrilla campaign is being fought every hour of the day in Iraq, with no sign of slowing down. I wish some good book about modern Urban guerrilla warfare, apart from Urbano's, would come out any time soon, in which the Iraqi model could analysed and compared to other similar situations
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A guerilla outline, April 15, 2002
This review is from: Guerrilla Warfare (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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30 of 35 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Principles of guerrilla warfare, August 16, 2001
This review is from: Guerrilla Warfare (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. His emphasis on the will, instincts, popular support (and, in a way that was ahead of his time, ethnic consciousness) as the key factors in causing a revolution goes against the tenor of previous Latin American brands of communism, which were more gradualist in character, in seeing that a sufficient economic and industrial base must be in place for any revolution to succeed. The defeatism of various Marxist theoreticians of the time leads Guevara to become increasingly virulent, not only against them, but against American imperialism. In his "Address to the Tricontinental" he condemns American imperialism and insists on causing "two, three, or many Vietnams" in the hope of driving a stake through the heart of American imperialism. However, Che Guevara's voluntarist practice and his theory of internationalist revolution have come to be seen as hopelessly outdated. His "foco" theory of guerrilla warfare has been overtaken by events, after it had disastrously failed to be applied in several Latin American countries. Guevara himself lost his life in 1967, after a failed guerrilla uprising in Bolivia, in which he attempted to put his theory into practice. Another weakness was that Guevara had generalised a very unique experience, -- the invasion of Cuba, -- into a normative standard for any successful insurrection. To many in the present generation, the idea of revolution has itself come to be seen as a dead-end or, at worst, a joke. Nevertheless, Che's life, a shining spark in the era of protest, violence, idealism and revolution, serves as a lesson in when to revolt, in how to refuse to be treated as an outcast and a servant, and in how dedicated a man can be in his struggle against the unjust social order that tyrannically oppresses its most disadvantaged members. It was not Cohn-Bendit, but Che Guevara whom Jean-Paul Sartre called "the most complete man of his time" in his selfless dedication, his courage, his vision and in the Christ-like sacrifice of his own life for the poor and downtrodden in whom he believed.
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70 of 90 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars For the Hardcore Only, July 19, 2001
By 
Leif A. Torkelsen (Nashville, TN United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Guerrilla Warfare (Paperback)
I'd recommend this book to only two types of readers. The first is the serious student of Che Guevera. His prose is poor, and his logic is constrained by the shibboleths of Marxism-Leninism, but it nonetheless provides a window into Che's own thoughts on the practicalities of revolution. The second group for whom this book would be of value is the student of guerrilla warfare. Now, Che's book is probably the last I'd recommend to anyone in that area (there are too many other books that are much better), but it is not without some merit.
The bottom line of this book is that Che has some very interesting toughts on revolution and guerrilla warfare. However, for the student of guerrilla warfare, Che's words must ultimately be taken with a big grain of salt. The corruption and incompetentence of the Batista regime and its rag-tag army made Che's war in Cuba a little too easy. When he encountered tougher foes in the Congo and Bolivia, he accomplished little but his own martyrdom. This is simply not the work of one of the great military leaders in his field, merely one of the most publicized.
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60 of 77 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Understand guerrilla warfare and Che's mentality., March 28, 2004
This review is from: Guerrilla Warfare (Paperback)
One way that "Guerrilla Warfare," can be considered is as a three point plan, with each text included in the book being a different part of the plan.

The first part is the main text of the book, and discusses the tactics of a guerrilla that begins in the country and builds strength until being able to fight with the regular army in standard battles. Che discusses propaganda, health care, education and industry that should be implemented in liberated territory as well as the roles of doctors and women in a guerrilla war. This text is very clear and concise; Che takes all aspects of what would go into a guerrilla army's territories and columns into consideration. He also makes the claim, at the beginning of the text that the necessary conditions for a revolution do not need to exist before the revolution, that the revolution itself can create them. This would seem to be a very encouraging claim for dissidents around the world, but one has to wonder whether Che's experiences in Congo and his capture and execution in Bolivia would contradict that claim. Both situations seemed to involve countries where the, "necessary conditions for a revolution," did not exist and were not created by Che's organization and recruiting.

The second part of this book, "Guerrilla Warfare, a Method," discusses what many accused Che of downplaying in the original text, the role of the urban guerrillas in a social movement. He writes about how the guerrillas would be covert operatives who are simply waiting for the signal to take action.

The third part of the book contains one of Che Guevara's most famous works, "Message to the Tricontinental," where he discusses the need for "many Vietnams," meaning the need for the third world to begin rebelling en masse against the U.S. dictatorships of Che's time (not to imply that they are not still in place) and eventually against the American forces themselves. This is specifically seen when he makes a reference to coming face to face with an American soldier, who is armed with the most advanced equipment and will be ruthless. For me, this is the most inspirational work that I have ever read from Che Guevara; he makes it seem that rebellion is imminent and that it is only a matter of time before the people of the third world rise up against their American-installed governments.

For those who would say that this type of warfare is ineffective, that it only worked in Cuba, I would use the Vietnam War, which the Vietnamese call the American War as a case in point to contradict that claim, where the Viet Cong were able to defeat the most powerful and imperialistic army in the world using guerrilla warfare and popular support. Perhaps Che knew that victory would be the eventual outcome for them, and that was why he wanted to create so many, "Vietnams," throughout Latin America.

This book is one of the most famous pieces of dissident literature ever written. If you are a Rage against the Machine fan you will probably have noticed that it is featured in their photo of books for the Evil Empire album. Reading it, enjoying it and understanding it will truly distinguish you from the right wing.

"Guerrilla Warfare," is also an example of why the imperialistic and plutocratic government of the United States saw the need to neutralize Che. He was both a man of action and of progressive thought, a combination that the American government despises seeing in any individual whose world-view is different from its own. There are militant groups in the United States today whose views are not left leaning but ultra-conservative racist, and coincidentally these groups manage to exist without government harassment. Timothy McVeigh was a member of the Neo Nazi group the Aryan Nation, but no investigation has been made into that organization. But Sherman Austin, the webmaster of the now offline Raisethefist website, was arrested and convicted because somebody posted a link to a website that had bombmaking instructions on it, somebody who was not even connected to the webmaster. Therefore it can be seen that the government loathes people like Che Guevara (and Sherman Austin, Malcolm X and the Black Panthers) because they have the nerve to both think progressively and take action, a mentality that this book showcases proudly.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but Flawed, March 14, 2007
By 
This review is from: Guerrilla Warfare (Paperback)
"Guerilla Warfare" explains well the method by which guerilla armies obtain their arms, using their enemy as their suppliers through hit and run captures of armaments. An overview of guerilla organization and methodology is provided. However, Che's personal experience seems to be his only source. The book lacks insights from the experiences of others in similar but culturally different and technologically different circumstances. Che makes universal inferences from his narrow experience. When he himself applied this theory, later in his life, to other circumstances, he failed. For example, he seems to believe that the will to fight a guerilla war can, in all cases, be created by the guerillas themselves. While it certainly would be inspirational to hear of a guerilla movement in one's own country fighting the forces of oppression, it is a mistake to believe that this will inevitably lead to a growing movement towards general insurrection. When Che tried this in Bolivia, he failed (fatally so).

I would recommend this book as a summary of Che's insights into guerilla warfare but would caution the reader to avoid accepting Che's conclusions as well founded. Avoid his mistake and read the works of Mao and others before drawing universal conclusions on guerilla warfare.
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27 of 35 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Some good content hidden in jungle of propaganda, February 16, 2001
By 
Thomas W Hickie (Ottawa, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Guerrilla Warfare (Paperback)
I purchased and read this book because I had read a biography on Che Guevera ("Che"), and was expecting hardcore, insightful, tactical and managerial information.
The truth, however, is that this books is crammed with Che's own political ideologies, and one gets the impression that the author (sorry Che) is more interested in "convincing" than he is in "explaining".
Truth be told, many people (including Che himself) have tried to stage and carry out revolutions based on the teachings of this book-- Che himself tried and failed twice, paying with his life the second time. I have no hard numbers on the others, but I suspect most of them are dead, or in prison.
There are mountains of condradictions in his work. He tries to make revolution seem as simple as baking a cake. Che wants you to believe in this so much that he does not properly explore his own ideas.
I would recommend this book to anybody who is interested in the life of Che Guevera, but only as a tool to gain a better understanding of who he was.
As a book on tactics, there are some good tidbits, but I've seen other books with more quality information.
I am a fan of Che, but not of this book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Meh, September 21, 2008
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This review is from: Guerrilla Warfare (Paperback)
This book is very simplistic and is based completely on the Cuban revolution. It has some interesting points here and there, but it is lacking the depth of other like works such as Mao's work on Guerrilla warfare. There are two works in one in this book. The first is on how to organize and fight a Guerrilla war, and the second is a rant against capitalism and the U.S.

This book did little to advance the literature and thought on Guerrilla warfare, but I think that it is a good start for a beginning student. It is a needed read for advanced students because of Che's place in history, but thankfully it is a short quick read. The book reenforces the thought that Che was not the brightest person, but he was a brave and skilled leader.

I found little in this book, but I don't think it is a waste of time, just read it when you have little to do or are on the pot.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just a "how to" book, July 26, 1999
By 
This review is from: Guerrilla Warfare (Paperback)
Most people feel the need to regard this book as an instruction manual. It was intended as such, but as a mature reader, one should take the context into account. This book embodies the spirit of a courageous warrior who's attributes all of us wish we had. This book is recomended not just for those aspiring to revolt against their oppressors, but those who wish to learn of the ideals of one of the greatest men ever born.
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