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Bolivar: American Liberator Hardcover – April 9, 2013

4.7 out of 5 stars 653 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Arana is an indefatigable researcher, a perceptive historian, and a luminous writer, as shown in her defining, exhilarating biography of the great South American liberator Simón Bolívar. A household name in the southern half of the Americas, Bolívar nevertheless is generally unknown to North Americans, beyond the simple, “Oh, yeah, I’ve heard the name.” The good of this meticulous new account of Bolívar’s exciting, to say nothing of consequential, life and times is that such a robust, dynamic, and, more importantly, easily accessible narrative goes to great lengths to rectify the North American unfamiliarity with Bolívar. The liberation of the South American colonies from the rule of the mother country was an even more complex, fits-and-starts program than the severing of ties between Great Britain and its Atlantic-seaboard colonies, but Arana follows the war in all its steps forward and back, at the end of which “one man would be credited for single-handedly conceiving, organizing, and leading the liberation of six nations.” Her understanding of the man behind the fame—and behind the hostility that enveloped him in his later years—brings this biography to the heights of the art and craft of life-writing. For more about the preparation of this book, see the adjacent Story behind the Story. --Brad Hooper

Review

“Finally, Bolivar gets the sweeping biography he deserves. He was the greatest leader in Latin American history, and his tale is filled with lessons about leadership and passion. This book reads like a wonderful novel but is researched like a masterwork of history.” -- Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs

“This is a magnificent story. Deeply researched and written with clarity, honesty, and verve, Marie Arana’s book tells the life of one of the greatest heroes and founders in world history. North Americans who know only of George Washington will thrill to read the epic adventures of his South American counterpart. As fantastic as Bolivar’s life appears, ‘it is not,’ as Arana says of Latin America’s bloody past in general, ‘magical realism. It is history. It is true.’” -- Gordon S. Wood, author of Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789–1815, Alva O. Way University Professor and Professor of History Emeritus at Brown University

“With the eye and ear of a novelist, Marie Arana chants the epic of Bolivar with love, zest, and compelling authority.” -- Walter A. McDougall, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and Alloy-Ansin Professor of International Relations, University of Pennsylvania

“Simon Bolivar has found the perfect biographer in Marie Arana, a literary journalist, brilliant novelist of South America, and wise historian as well. Her portrait of Bolivar is human and moving; she has written a powerful and epic life and times." -- Evan Thomas, author of Ike's Bluff: President Eisenhower's Secret Struggle to Save the World

“Most North American historians have mentioned [Bolivar] only in passing, usually making 'the George Washington of Latin America' reference. . . . That conception obviously needed correction in the form of a comprehensive biography that makes Bolivar’s life accessible to a large readership in the United States.
Bolivar is unquestionably that book. . . . Bolivar is magisterial in scope, written with flair and an almost cinematic sense of history happening. . . . A monumental achievement destined to win some major literary prizes.” -- Joseph J. Ellis ― Washington Post Book World

"Wonderful. . . . In Arana's energetic and highly readable telling, Bolívar comes alive as having willed himself an epic life. . . . She brings great verve and literary flair to her biography of Bolívar." -- Hector Tobar ―
The Los Angeles Times

"The 'George Washington of South America,' who freed various countries from Spanish colonial rule, emerges in this account as a complex hero. . . . Arana offers a clear-eyed assessment of the ideals, alliances, and human frailtiesthat drove Bolívar’s choices and shaped the Americas." ―
The New Yorker

“Inspired. . . . Arana ably captures the brash brilliance of this revered and vilified leader.” ―
Kirkus Reviews

“Arana is an indefatigable researcher, a perceptive historian, and a luminous writer, as shown in her defining, exhilarating biography of the great South American liberator Simón Bolívar. . . . Her understanding of the man behind the fame—and behind the hostility that enveloped him in his later years—brings this biography to the heights of the art and craft of life-writing.” ―
Booklist (starred review, Top 10 Biographies of the Year)

“[Arana's] vivid portrait shows us a charismatic man of high ideals, fiery oratory, unflagging energy and resolve, bold strategies, and a romantic aura. . . . Arana’s dramatic narrative is appropriately grand and enthralling . . . and it makes Bolívar an apt embodiment of the ambitions and disappointments of the revolutionary age.” ―
Publishers Weekly

“This well-rounded work reveals not just an accomplished military tactician but also an able statesman. . . . An important contribution to Bolivarian studies.” ―
Library Journal (starred review)

"A fascinating biography of the charismatic military leader who sparked a revolution." -- Abbe Wright ―
O Magazine

"So who was [Bolivar] that, two centuries after his birth, Chavez would be but the latest to manipulate the flexible power of Bolivarian myth to ideological ends? The answer is complex, and it therefore makes sense that someone with a novelist's grace and a journalist's precision would produce such a satisfying response. Arana . . . manages to both praise Bolivar's achievements and critique his shortcomings, thereby illuminating both the man and the messiah (or demon) that he sometimes became." -- Earl Pike ―
The Cleveland Plain Dealer

Epic is a word used too often to describe lesser work, but Marie Arana’s marvelously readable Bolívar: American Liberator is a biography that earns its adjective. . . . For those who know little of Bolívar’s history — that includes most people in North America — here is a biography that sparks the imagination in its depth and perception, and its unflagging narrative.” -- David Walton ― The Dallas Morning News

“Thrilling, authoritative and revelatory, here at last is a biography of Bolivar, the maker of South America, that catches the sheer extraordinary unique adventure and titanic scale of his life with accessible narrative and scholarly judgement.” -- Simon Sebag Montefiore
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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Simon & Schuster; First Edition (April 9, 2013)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 624 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1439110190
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1439110195
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 2.08 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6.5 x 1.75 x 9.5 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 653 ratings

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www.mariearana.net

Marie Arana was born in Lima, Peru, the daughter of a Peruvian father and an American mother. Her latest book is a biography of the South American founder Simón Bolívar, "Bolívar: American Liberator," which was released in April 2013. Highly praised in the United States and Britain, it won the Los Angeles Times Book Award in 2014. Marie is also the author of an acclaimed memoir "American Chica," which described her bicultural childhood between North and South Americas. The book was a finalist for the National Book Award, the PEN-Memoir Award, and chosen best book of the year by several publications. Her novels, "Cellophane" and "Lima Nights," are dramatically different works, the first being a rich, lush satire of the Amazon jungle, the second being a stark, urban love story set in contemporary Peru; both were cited by numerous national publications as one of the best books of the year. Her book "The Writing Life," is a collection from her well-known column for The Washington Post, which explores the way writers think and work. Marie wrote the Latin American script for the film, "Girl Rising," which premiered in March 2013. Marie is the former editor in chief of "Book World" at The Washington Post and a senior consultant to the Librarian of Congress. You can find more information about her at www.mariearana.net.

Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5
653 global ratings

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