The Motorcycle Diaries: Notes on a Latin American Journey Paperback – August 1, 2003
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Frequently bought together
A Latin American James Dean or Jack Kerouac. (Washington Post)
Ernesto Guevara in search of Che. On this journey of journeys, solitude found solidarity, I turned into we. (Eduardo Galeano)
An extraordinary first-person account. It redoubles his image and lends a touch of humanity with enough rough edges to invite controversy. (Los Angeles Times Book Review)
For every comic escapade of the carefree roustabout there is an equally eye-opening moment in the development of the future revolutionary leader. (Time)
There is pathos in these pages the pathos of Che himself, ever thoughtful, ever willing to sacrifice all, burning with guilt over his own privileges and never letting his sufferings impede him. (New Yorker)
This candid journal, part self-discovery, part fieldwork, glimmers with portents of the future revolutionary. (Publishers Weekly)
A revolutionary bestseller Its true, Marxists just wanna have fun. (Guardian)
What distinguishes these diaries is that they reveal a human side to El Che which historians have successfully managed to suppress. (Financial Times)
This book should do much to humanize the image of a man who found his apotheosis as a late 60s cultural icon. It is also, incidentally, a remarkably good travel book about South America. (The Scotsman) -- Review
From the Back Cover
The young Che Guevaras lively and highly entertaining travel diary. This new, expanded edition features exclusive, unpublished photographs taken by the 23-year-old Ernesto on his journey across a continent, and a tender preface by Aleida Guevara offering a highly insightful perspective on her father the man and the icon.
"A journey, a number of journeys. Ernesto Guevara in search of adventure, Ernesto Guevara in search of America, Ernesto Guevara in search of Che. On this journey of journeys, solitude found solidarity, I turned into we." Eduardo Galeano
"Our film is about a young man, Che, falling love with a continent and finding his place in it." Walter Salles, Director of "The Motorcycle Diaries"
- Publisher : Ocean Press; First Edition, Second Printing (August 1, 2003)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 175 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1876175702
- ISBN-13 : 978-1876175702
- Item Weight : 9.1 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.4 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #57,904 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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You do not have to be a leftist or a history student to read this. This book is simply the journals of a traveling young man.
Top reviews from other countries
However, I have a few minor complaints about the book- or at least the version I read. One would be the number of Preface's, chronologies, maps and introductions at the start of the book. One introduction alone takes up fifteen pages, and reads more like an academic paper a History student at University might write. <-- This leads me to my second complaint. This mini academic paper would have been better placed at the end of the book, as it uses several quotes and examples from the diaries themselves which make no sense unless you have read the diaries themselves, ergo, why is it at the beginning where these quotes and examples would make no sense?
Otherwise, a great read and well worth the money spent.
At 165 pages [plus 24 pages of black & white pictures] this is generally an easy read but using a good map adds a lot to the understanding. The ‘diary’ actually starts on page 31, the earlier pages being introductions and contents information. Much of the route is easy to follow but a lot has changed over the years. However, it is still possible to make out the bulk of their route despite some translation errors and Argentinian spellings of place names. Bluffing their way along [before the Pan American Highway was completed] the pair manage to stay in varying places from railway stations [some now ruins and the population gone], army barracks, police stations, fire stations, numerous hospitals, even staying with family friends and acquaintances that they meet along the way to camping rough at lakesides [which are now almost all campsites].
Well worth getting a copy if you’re remotely interested in ‘Che’ or Latin America in the 1950s but not really a travel guide in itself nor does it show him becoming a radical as the publicity suggests [he was already radicalised before the journey, Alberto even more so] and the political commentaries present are clearly written much later as the writing style is totally different. It does however show a professional [Che qualified as a Dr the following year] 23 year old who’s in conflict with his past and uncertain about his future in a continent undergoing rapid change. The second half [as they leave Chile and have to hitch-hike] becomes more critical and condemning of society and its clearly been heavily ‘tweaked’ but its still possible to see the growing tensions between the two companions as the journey wears on. Che’ revolutionary halo definitely slips in this.
The Diaries are full of the misery of a hand-to-hand existence, where the daily struggle to find or talk their way into a meal is paramount. The logistical puzzle of how to get from A to B is also never far from the surface. These passages, where the beauty of the landscape is drawn, are some of the more memorable passages. So too the descriptions of villages, towns and ancient cities that the two friends encounter, especially in Peru.
Guevara is a fine writer, selecting expressions that assist us to see what he saw, to feel the poverty and guess at the squalor of existence that he saw on display along his journey. Clearly, this shaped Guevara's attitude. An important book, shorter than I had imagined, but well worth your time.