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Veteran Venezuelan journalists Marcano and Tyszka have aimed for rare middle ground with a biography that neither extols nor decries Venezuelan president Chávez. The account mostly moves chronologically, presenting details about Chávez's humble beginnings in the Venezuelan plains and his ascent through the military ranks. Chávez's 1992 failed coup attempt is explained in great detail, as is the attempt to oust him in 2002. The authors seamlessly weave in interviews with people who know Chávez well, offering a glimpse into his psychology. The narrative also delves into Chávez's love life, as well as the dynamics of his relationship with Fidel Castro. Though the pace of the book is inconsistent, with some events receiving a surplus of detail while others feel rushed, it's generally smart and well-written, making it a good start for those curious about Chávez, and a treat for those who closely follow the Venezuelan leader and yearn for a less biased overview of his life. (Aug.)
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Venezuelan husband-and-wife journalists bring an intimate sense of the culture and politics of that nation and the significance that Hugo Chávez plays in its history and that of South America overall. A best-seller in its original Spanish, the English edition includes photographs, fresh material from newly discovered documents, excerpts from Chávez's diary, and interviews. Marcano and Tyszka scored an interview with Herma Marksman, a professor and Chávez's lover for nine years, offering further details about Chávez. The Venezuelan president has gained an international reputation as the provider of low-cost oil to poor people in the U.S. and South Africa, the man who publicly castigated President Bush before the UN, and the man who some say threatens to disrupt Venezuela's political and economic stability even as he seeks to provide social justice to its most impoverished citizens. This is a fascinating biography of a complex and forceful political figure who bears watching. Bush, VanessaSee all Editorial Reviews