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The Motorcycle Diaries: Notes on a Latin American Journey

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Author: Ernesto Che Guevara

Published: August 1st 2003 by Ocean Press (first published October 1st 1992)

Format: Paperback , 175 pages

Isbn: 9781876175702

Language: English


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The young Che Guevara’s lively and highly entertaining travel diary, now a popular movie and a New York Times bestseller. This new, expanded edition features exclusive, unpublished photos taken by the 23-year-old Ernesto on his journey across a continent, and a tender preface by Aleida Guevara, offering an insightful perspective on the man and the icon. Features of this edi The young Che Guevara’s lively and highly entertaining travel diary, now a popular movie and a New York Times bestseller. This new, expanded edition features exclusive, unpublished photos taken by the 23-year-old Ernesto on his journey across a continent, and a tender preface by Aleida Guevara, offering an insightful perspective on the man and the icon. Features of this edition include: A preface by Che Guevara’s daughter Aleida Introduction by Cintio Vintier, well-known Latin American poet Photos & maps from the original journey Postcript: Che’s personal reflections on his formative years: “A child of my environment.”   Published in association with the Che Guevara Studies Center, Havana  

30 review for The Motorcycle Diaries: Notes on a Latin American Journey

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lit Bug

    I have always been intrigued by this charismatic, utterly good-looking, athletic man who was instrumental to the toppling of the Cuban government, and who is now largely forgotten, remembered only as a mythological figure in legends about faraway lands. Suddenly this May, I chanced upon a biography of his in a book fair and grabbed it. At that time, I’d only heard of his name. I knew he was some kind of revolutionary. But nothing had prepared me for what was to come. The biography tormented me f I have always been intrigued by this charismatic, utterly good-looking, athletic man who was instrumental to the toppling of the Cuban government, and who is now largely forgotten, remembered only as a mythological figure in legends about faraway lands. Suddenly this May, I chanced upon a biography of his in a book fair and grabbed it. At that time, I’d only heard of his name. I knew he was some kind of revolutionary. But nothing had prepared me for what was to come. The biography tormented me for weeks on end, and I spent days thinking about him. It was traumatic for me. And it wasn’t as if I was over-sensitive to accounts of extreme violence, bloodshed or revolutions, or a sentimental, weepy girl. But I was not prepared to meet a man so deeply committed to the cause, without bothering which country he was fighting for. It was enigmatic for me how Guevara, born into an affluent family, immensely good-looking, lively, easy-going, friendly and with a prosperous future earmarked for him, would later become one of the most determined, daring and charismatic guerilla leaders. Here was a compassionate man not only outraged by political, social and economic injustice, but also one who transcended nationalistic barriers, the roots of which were, undoubtedly, sown in his travels through Latin America. An Argentine who fought for Cuba, and then, instead of resting on his laurels for the rest of his life, went off to fight in Congo, coming to his end in yet another warfare in Bolivia. So now I didn’t lose the chance to read this little book. I did not find it particularly useful in any way. I’d looked for insights, but I didn’t get any (that I hadn’t already gained). It did not entertain too well. It wasn’t sloppy or anything, but it wasn’t as extraordinary as I’d expected. Of course, I’d wanted some new revelation about his motorcycle tour through Latin America. In that sense, I was disappointed. But then, it was about Guevara, and I eagerly lapped up every little detail I could, like a star-struck fan clamoring for every single gossip about her favorite celebrity. What I clearly liked about the diary is that it was humorous and light-hearted in tone, but not flippant. Che’s compassion showed through in his reflections on poverty and his accounts of indigenous people, his awareness of the richness of a Latin American culture, which, though distinct in every country, was, as he realized very soon, still bonded with each other through a common tradition and race. The historical bits thrown in with his account were quite interesting, and whetted my appetite for Latin America, which Allende's "Daughter of Fortune" and Neruda had already aroused some years ago. By itself, it is little more than disjointed, hasty vignettes of their journey (in 1951-’52 with his friend Alberto Granado on a motorcycle they called La Poderosa II/The Mighty One), punctuated by humor, amusement and compassion – despite the lightness of the prose, which is, in fact, quite charming in many places, it is of little value in isolation. It is obvious it was a personal diary, not intended to be published. Without Che being who he was, these serve as nothing more than a light-hearted, one-time read. Its appeal lies in the fact that this was one of those times that struck a deep root in Che’s mind, which was later to prove crucial in making him what he was. It was one of those little, seemingly unimportant incidents that shaped his already conscientious nature. It was not a turning point – rather, it was one of the slight turns that happen in degrees, imperceptibly, that in the long run, changed the course of his life, and that of Cuba – it is well-known now that but for Che, Castro would not have had his landmark victory. ‘A Note in the Margin’ provides a comparatively deeper idea of what Che was, and it was further sealed by the appendix at the end, titled A Child of my Environment (Speech to medical students, 1960). It is clear that Che’s Hippocratic Oath came from the heart, not from a book. His speech elucidates what he considers the duty of a doctor, and also throws light on his political views. The three stars are for the book – objectively. The fourth is for Che – because I read this not as a travel-memoir, but as a way to understand Che. In that young, handsome 20-something lad, I was seeking the sparks that were to make some youngster called Ernesto, “Che Guevara”. I read it in an attempt to gain insight into a man who has not been adequately honored. A man who was selfless to the very core. A man who threw away his family, his children, his clearly prosperous, comfortable life to serve an ideology. Here was a remarkable man who was as passionate and compassionate as he was intelligent; who was more alive to the sorrows of the poor than he was to his own comforts. He was determined and daring. No one has affected me so profoundly before. The fourth star is in his memory, a mark of respect. Despite this being a one-time read for me, I refuse to give an objective three-star rating.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Amalia Gavea

     If you attempt ANY kind of political comments, the exit is THAT way. It's that simple. Don't provoke me, it won't end well.   “This is not a story of heroic feats, or merely the narrative of a cynic; at least I do not mean it to be. It is a glimpse of two lives running parallel for a time, with similar hopes and convergent dreams.” Two young men set off for the journey of a lifetime. Their chariot, a motorcycle. Their initial purpose, to know and understand the fascinating world of South Ame  If you attempt ANY kind of political comments, the exit is THAT way. It's that simple. Don't provoke me, it won't end well.   “This is not a story of heroic feats, or merely the narrative of a cynic; at least I do not mean it to be. It is a glimpse of two lives running parallel for a time, with similar hopes and convergent dreams.” Two young men set off for the journey of a lifetime. Their chariot, a motorcycle. Their initial purpose, to know and understand the fascinating world of South America. As they travel deeper and deeper, they come across lands and communities struck by poverty, abandonment, isolation, exploitation, violence, torment, sickness, death. And the two youngsters of our story acquire a new purpose. To help the ones in need with whatever meagre means they have. Their quest takes them from the north across the Andes, to Chile, the Atacama Desert, Peru and Venezuela. Facing the whims of a demanding nature, encountering people who have been abused and ostracised because of their beliefs, experiencing the sacred impact of Machu Pichu, one of the marvels of human ingenuity, the two young men leave the crazy, alluring, care-free attitude of youth behind towards a new vision. Che’s writings, thoughts and experiences in the San Pablo leper colony in Peru are heartbreaking, his determination to aid the ones who suffer by an absurd divide due to false ‘’ medical’’ convictions is touching and eye-opening. The young men’s names? Alberto Granado. Ernesto ‘’Che’’ Guevara. P.S. Do I really need to mention the marvellous 2004 adaptation starring Gael García Bernal and Rodrigo de la Serna, directed by Walter Salles? If you haven’t watched it, do so. You won’t regret it.   “Some give the impression they go on living only because it's a habit they cannot shake”   “Perhaps one day tired of circling the world I'll return to Argentina and settle in the Andean lakes if not indefinitely then at least for a pause while I shift from one understanding of the world to another.” My reviews can also be found on https://theopinionatedreaderblog.word...

  3. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    Che Guevara was a doctor, a revolutionary, extremely hot, and the subject of the most t-shirts worn by people who do not understand them ever. Here's the young Che Guevara's chronicle of motorcycle crashes - nine in one day, great job! - on his busted ass motorcycle over busted ass roads, until the thing entirely breaks, and then he becomes a revolutionary. you know what I like is maps You could break Guevara's life into three phases. Phase 2 is where he's a crucial player in the Cuban revolution Che Guevara was a doctor, a revolutionary, extremely hot, and the subject of the most t-shirts worn by people who do not understand them ever. Here's the young Che Guevara's chronicle of motorcycle crashes - nine in one day, great job! - on his busted ass motorcycle over busted ass roads, until the thing entirely breaks, and then he becomes a revolutionary. you know what I like is maps You could break Guevara's life into three phases. Phase 2 is where he's a crucial player in the Cuban revolution with Fidel Castro. Phase 3 is when he quits his cushy job in the new Cuban government to go back to the jungle and lead another revolution, this one in Bolivia, because this is the one guy in the world who, like, every time he says "We should have a revolution," he immediately drops everything and starts one. Che Guevara is the final word on money going where mouths are. These two phases are covered in Stephen Soderbergh's 4.5-hour biopic Che, which, it turns out, is pretty boring, don't watch that. Look, I just think it's important to acknowledge that this is a very attractive man. Phase 1 is him becoming a revolutionary, and the fun thing about this book is that you get to watch it happen. It's his real diary from this cross-continental trip, and it starts off sortof like a typical young guy road trip, brash and full of stories about getting drunk with strangers - On the South American Road, you know? And then he runs into this old woman dying of asthma and is consumed by rage. The poor thing was in a pitiful state, breathing the acrid smell of concentrated sweat and dirty feet that filled her room...It is at times like this, when a doctor is conscious of his complete powerlessness, that he longs for change: a change to prevent the injustice of a system in which only a month ago this poor woman was still earning her living as a waitress, wheezing and panting but facing life with dignity. In circumstances like this, individuals in poor families who can't pay their way become surrounded by an atmosphere of barely disguised acrimony; they stop being father, mother, sister or brother and become a purely negative force in the struggle for life and, consequently, a source of bitterness for the healthy members of the community who resent their illness as if it were a personal insult to those who have to support them. Isn't that passage fuckin' astounding? I mean, here he is, a lifelong asthma sufferer himself, in a shitty hut trying to help some poor woman, and expanding her condition out to the systemic injustices that created it, and to its impact on the very fabric of society, in three sentences. And here it is: you're watching Ernesto Guevara become Che. "We learned perfectly," says Che, "that the life of a single being is worth millions of times more than all the property of the richest man on earth." It sounds so obvious when he says it, right?

  4. 5 out of 5

    Riku Sayuj

    These Diary notes provide us with an ernest and fetching account of a young Che, a middle-class kid, not yet embarked on the violent and heroic road that stretched past these early trails. Not particularly educational or insightful, but yet strangely moving. The carefree bikers turn into compassionate observers of humanity along the course of this journey, thus fulfilling the purpose of the journey, at least in retrospect. The passion and the compassion shines through the entire text and a youth These Diary notes provide us with an ernest and fetching account of a young Che, a middle-class kid, not yet embarked on the violent and heroic road that stretched past these early trails. Not particularly educational or insightful, but yet strangely moving. The carefree bikers turn into compassionate observers of humanity along the course of this journey, thus fulfilling the purpose of the journey, at least in retrospect. The passion and the compassion shines through the entire text and a youthful hope enlivens it, and that is part of its lasting appeal. As the following passage makes clear, how much of this book is observation and how much is later interpretation is hard to judge. All we can be sure is that this is how Che saw the journey as he looked back on it. In nine months of a man’s life he can think a lot of things, from the loftiest meditations on philosophy to the most desperate longing for a bowl of soup — in total accord with the state of his stomach. And if, at the same time, he’s somewhat of an adventurer, he might live through episodes of interest to other people and his haphazard record might read something like these notes. And so, the coin was thrown in the air, turning many times, landing sometimes heads and other times tails. Man, the measure of all things, speaks here through my mouth and narrates in my own language that which my eyes have seen. It is likely that out of 10 possible heads I have seen only one true tail, or vice versa. In fact it’s probable, and there are no excuses, for these lips can only describe what these eyes actually see. Is it that our whole vision was never quite complete, that it was too transient or not always well-informed? Were we too uncompromising in our judgments? Okay, but this is how the typewriter interpreted those fleeting impulses raising my fingers to the keys, and those impulses have now died. Moreover, no one can be held responsible for them. The person who wrote these notes passed away the moment his feet touched Argentine soil again. The person who reorganizes and polishes them, me, is no longer, at least I am not the person I once was. All this wandering around “Our America with a capital A” has changed me more than I thought. As the book slowly moves from casual observation, to detailed description, to heart-felt indictments and finally to loud declamations of a future that has to be wrought at any cost, the reader might find it difficult to follow the spiritual evolution of a middle-class kid that is compressed into this narrative - unfortunately, for modern middle-class readers, that is precisely what is expected of Che. Also, the structure of this progression was a little too neat for my liking, but with Che the myth is everything and is an essential component of enjoying these Diaries. Embrace it.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Aishu Rehman

    I rarely pick up non-fiction. And whenever I do, it's usually a hit-or-miss, I either like it or hate it. I have this idea that most of the non-fiction I have read, especially memoirs, are books that didn't sit well with me. However, I decided to give the genre another chance, and after reading this book, I am glad that I did. So what is this book about? This is the diary of the Argentine doctor and revolutionary, Ernesto Guevara, more known by his nickname of "Che," as he traveled around South Am I rarely pick up non-fiction. And whenever I do, it's usually a hit-or-miss, I either like it or hate it. I have this idea that most of the non-fiction I have read, especially memoirs, are books that didn't sit well with me. However, I decided to give the genre another chance, and after reading this book, I am glad that I did. So what is this book about? This is the diary of the Argentine doctor and revolutionary, Ernesto Guevara, more known by his nickname of "Che," as he traveled around South America with his friend Alberto Granado, using a motorcycle. The travel was done in 1951-52, leaving from Argentina, crossing the Andes to the other side in Chile, then heading up to Peru, Colombia and Venezuela. Along the way, Che experienced several facets of life in South America that later on shaped his revolutionary outlook in life. As I was reading this, I cannot help but make comparisons to another travelogue that I have read recently, and that was Jack Kerouac's On The Road. I read this travelogue a few months ago, when I was in Mexico. And at that time, I wasn't impressed. This time, I loved what I read. And perhaps the only way I can review this book properly is by comparing it to something else. First, it helped that I was quite familiar with the places that were mentioned in the book. Reading about Che's impressions of Cuzco made me nostalgic about the place. And judging from what he wrote, it seems that little has changed in that corner of Peru. The fact that I have been to Saqsayhuaman, Tambomachay, and other places that he has mentioned while traveling in the Sacred Valley definitely helped in appreciating this work. Perhaps that is one factor why I liked this travelogue better than On The Road, in that this one focused a lot more on the scenery and the local culture. Second, I appreciated the gradual mental change that was reflected in Che's writing. He had a middle-class rather affluent background, and here he was, faced with the grim realities of South America. He encounters indigenous peoples such as the Aymara, the Quechua, and the Yagua who live in the interior, and witnesses the poor realities that these people face. He also encounters a leper colony and sees the unlucky situation that they are in. This gradually molds his thinking into Marxism, as evident in his prose. The final sentence especially illustrates this, when he proclaims that he is sacrificing himself to the authentic revolution, bracing his body, ready for combat, as the bestial howl of the victorious proletariat resounds with new vigor and hope. It was quite an idealistic ending. Personally, I am not sold to the idea of Marxism and Communism, as I feel that humans are inherently selfish. This I think is the one general flaw which makes the idea of Communism a failure. Looking back at history, we see how several Communist states became corrupt; it was never a utopian state where everything is equal. However, I can also see Che's point of view. If you're on the bottom end of the social spectrum, you would wish that life were a little bit easier, hoping that the the riches those bourgeoisie enjoy would trickle down to your own plate. That's the hope. Alas, it is easier said than done.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    Diarios de motocicleta = The motorcycle diaries: a journey around south America, 1995, Ernesto Che Guevara (1928 - 1967) The Motorcycle Diaries (Spanish: Diarios de motocicleta) is a 2004 biopic about the journey and written memoir of the 23-year-old Ernesto Guevara, who would several years later become internationally known as the iconic Marxist guerrilla commander and revolutionary Che Guevara. تاریخ نخستین خوانش: بیست و هفتم ماه فوریه سال 2005 میلادی عنوان: خاطرات موتور سیکلت: روزنگاشت سفر به آم Diarios de motocicleta = The motorcycle diaries: a journey around south America, 1995, Ernesto Che Guevara (1928 - 1967) The Motorcycle Diaries (Spanish: Diarios de motocicleta) is a 2004 biopic about the journey and written memoir of the 23-year-old Ernesto Guevara, who would several years later become internationally known as the iconic Marxist guerrilla commander and revolutionary Che Guevara. تاریخ نخستین خوانش: بیست و هفتم ماه فوریه سال 2005 میلادی عنوان: خاطرات موتور سیکلت: روزنگاشت سفر به آمریکای لاتین؛ اثر: ارنستو چه گوارا؛ مترجم: تبسم آتشین جان؛ مشخصات نشر: تهران، حوض نقره، 1385، در 160 ص، نقشه، شابک: 9647961332؛ این کتاب با عنوان: «خاطرات سفر با موتور سیکلت» توسط انتشارات اجتماع در سال 1383 چاپ و منتشر شده است؛ چاپ دوم زمستان 1386؛ موضوع: چه گوارا ، آمریکای لاتین، سیر و سیاحت - سده 20 م ا. شربیانی

  7. 4 out of 5

    Momina Masood

    "This is not a story of incredible heroism, or merely the narrative of a cynic; at least I do not mean it to be. It is a glimpse of two lives that ran parallel for a time, with similar hopes and convergent dreams." At times I mourn the inadequacy of the written word and how poor of an approximation it is of lived experiences. And yet reading transports you to places and into minds you could never have known otherwise, in any other way. As I closed this book with a sigh and put it aside, I fel "This is not a story of incredible heroism, or merely the narrative of a cynic; at least I do not mean it to be. It is a glimpse of two lives that ran parallel for a time, with similar hopes and convergent dreams." At times I mourn the inadequacy of the written word and how poor of an approximation it is of lived experiences. And yet reading transports you to places and into minds you could never have known otherwise, in any other way. As I closed this book with a sigh and put it aside, I felt strangely elated at having not only seen a little of that mysterious continent, which we call South America, but understood it, in its tragedy and promise. My fascination with the continent partly stems from the fact that I, too, come from a place having a colonial past, and understand how important culture is, especially when it dies and you are left with only a few architectural ruins to remember the glorious dynasties you were once a part of. Ernesto’s journey through Peru, his exploration of Cuzco along with those few pages dedicated to the reconstruction of Inca civilization perhaps were my favorites, for this reason. “The navel of the world”, the world of the Incas in the Peruvian mountains, the ancient civilization carved out in the heart of Machu Picchu, now hot tourist attractions, carry the blood of thousands of Indians—another group of humans who have been treated miserably by the world. It’s funny, the Eurocentricism that I find among my people, not sad but funny as I read through this book and realized that there are races and cultures and countries and forests and mountains worth dreaming of, about which we have such little interest, and absolutely no knowledge. But I digress. Ernesto begins the most important part of his journey taking us through the “land of hospitality”, Chile, recounting several comic incidents involving never-ending barbecues, near escapades, to its deserts and its mines, the point where his narration takes on a kind of seriousness as he describes the living conditions of the miners and mourns the exploitation of those who give away their lives so cheaply, suffocating in the entrails of the world. It is at this stage of his journey that something hits him, something we all know that would ultimately and irrevocably change him into “Comandante Che”. But this book is not special merely because it is the future-Che who is writing it, but because of South America itself, and all the places Ernesto and Alberto journey through. Read it as a diary of an adventurer, and it will still be great! As far as Che is concerned, well, what can I say. To say that the man fascinates me would be an understatement. But as much as I think I am in love with all the romanticism and idealism his name evokes, I have to admit that I cannot “know” him, nobody can, and what I think of him is what I want to believe of him. To think of Che as a man is too depressing, but to think of him as a mythic legend, a hero of some folktale is something I can live with better. “The person who wrote these notes passed away the moment his feet touched Argentine soil. The person who reorganizes and polishes them, me, is no longer, at least I’m not the person I once was. All this wandering around “Our America with a capital A” has changed me more than I thought.” Ernesto, on the other hand, the young Argentine who went on this journey, is someone else. As Aleida writes in her beautiful preface, I am in love with the boy her father had been, and I envy his spirit which took him to journeys I can only dream of. His narration is full of pathos and sympathy, but sometimes has the coldness of pure scientific inquiry. But then again, his romanticism comes in full force and the prose becomes lyrical, poetic, even slightly excessive. Anyway, these notes read smoothly, and the discordance you might find is forgivable, considering the fact that their writer wasn't exactly a prose stylist. P.S. I think the movie was quite brilliant. I am a fan of Bernal and it was through browsing his filmography that I came to know of this book. They did a pretty fantastic job of making a linear, cohesive, beautiful story out of these notes, some of which are quite hurried. If you like, do watch the movie, but only if you vouch to read the book, as well. There is something the movie doesn't give you, and that is the narrative, the inner dialogue which accompanied Ernesto as he traveled silently through South America. If the movie gives you scenery, the book gives you the right perspective to see it. And, my God, what a perspective! “My eyes traced the immense vault of heaven; the starry sky twinkled happily above me, as if answering in the affirmative to the question rising deep within me: “Is all of this worth it?”

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ash

    I wanted to read this book so badly, mainly because I wanted to read about Che. He is such a popular icon and you see so many people wearing t-shirts with his image on them etc. I knew very little about him and that was the main reason for picking up this book. I would say I read more from Wikipedia, than from the book. I would open Wikipedia to read more about the cities mentioned in the book. I also read stuff about Fiedel Castro and few more people mentioned in the book. Apart from Che's pers I wanted to read this book so badly, mainly because I wanted to read about Che. He is such a popular icon and you see so many people wearing t-shirts with his image on them etc. I knew very little about him and that was the main reason for picking up this book. I would say I read more from Wikipedia, than from the book. I would open Wikipedia to read more about the cities mentioned in the book. I also read stuff about Fiedel Castro and few more people mentioned in the book. Apart from Che's personal life, this book was interesting to read in many aspects. Machu Picchu, which is now one of the wonders of the world, has been explained very well by Che in the book. He also speaks about Inca empire, its decline and Spanish invasion. What really impressed me in the book were his thoughts about everything- 1. Owner made a person carry their luggage walking while these people were riding horses. Che pitied for that guy and took back the luggage from that guy. 2. His compassion towards the mine workers who have to work in such horrible conditions, in return for such poor wages. 3. Communist couple to whom Che and Alberto lend their blanket, even though they themselves were shivering from cold. 4. The way he feels compassion for all those leprosy patients and makes sure they feel 'human' again, like playing football with them, touching their hands. I am not sure how many people would have actually done that. 5. I like the way they get free food and drinks during the trip. Che's idea of telling they always eat while drinking :) I feel sad for the Indians(native Americans). He describes third class in the train by saying it used to stink more than the coach used to transport animals in Argentina. "But the people before us are not the same proud race that repeatedly rose up against Inca rule... These people who watch us walk through the streets of the town are a defeated race". "... To die hoping that one of their children, thanks to miracle powers of a drop of colonising blood in their veins, might somehow achieve the goal they look forward to until their last days" Che's thoughts along with their travel anecdotes made it a great read. Updated: Movie was good. I especially loved those beautiful locations (Machu Picchu). But still book was better.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Shovelmonkey1

    Sometimes my job sees me heading off to the worst kind of places (chemical works and sewage plants being two prime examples), however sometimes the gods just smile down and I find myself being sent somewhere really good. Really good, like where? Well, I'll tell you. I've been sent to work in a library for five days. WHOO HOOOOOOOOO! The local liberry (to quote Richard Derus) has been closed for a big refurbishment which partially involves whole scale demolition of parts of the building. Want to d Sometimes my job sees me heading off to the worst kind of places (chemical works and sewage plants being two prime examples), however sometimes the gods just smile down and I find myself being sent somewhere really good. Really good, like where? Well, I'll tell you. I've been sent to work in a library for five days. WHOO HOOOOOOOOO! The local liberry (to quote Richard Derus) has been closed for a big refurbishment which partially involves whole scale demolition of parts of the building. Want to demolish a historic building? Whoyagonnacall? The archaeologists, that's who. So all these books are being given away, chucked out, pulped or sold on to make way for an e-liberry. Ye Gods! And I found this in the recycle bin - astonishing what people are willing to throw away really! It was not own its own either because it was accompanied by copies of Wuthering Heights, Pride and Prejudice and many many many others. In total I liberated about 40 books all of which have now been dusted off, registered on bookcrossing and released around the city for other people to enjoy. If you don't know about book crossing then go to http://www.bookcrossing.com immediately. Go on, off you go! Overall I enjoyed this special random free "book-in-a-bin" find, but it was not quite as inspirational as generations of Che t-shirt wearing wannabee revolutionaries would have me believe. Maybe I'm just too old? Is this something you're supposed to read when you're young and perky and stoned? Up there with Kerouac in that this book sells loafing and free loading as a form of modern spiritual enlightenment. See? I am too old. There is no doubt that his writing is good and the trip was an exceptional and entertaining journey, especially since Che and Alberto made the journey relying on the charity of strangers. The most amazing part of the book was the way that the police could always be relied on to provide a place to stay and some free food when all else failed. Not to discredit our loyal band of polis, but I can't imagine that ever being likely in the UK!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Nikhil

    This is a book which everybody in their 20s need to read. At a time when everyone is trying to settle down into a career which would reap harvests eventually, where you dream of going on your dream trips eventually, where you would want to read that book or draw the painting or write the poem, eventually; we have a book about a 20 something who does it all. The story of Che before he became The Che, when he still is a rash youngster hot blooded and filled with hunger for adventure. In spite of w This is a book which everybody in their 20s need to read. At a time when everyone is trying to settle down into a career which would reap harvests eventually, where you dream of going on your dream trips eventually, where you would want to read that book or draw the painting or write the poem, eventually; we have a book about a 20 something who does it all. The story of Che before he became The Che, when he still is a rash youngster hot blooded and filled with hunger for adventure. In spite of which, he displays a caring philosophical mind of a legend in making. Filled with good servings of humour, in this travelogue, you take the place of Alberto Granado and travel across South America with Che. There are so many lines which will remain etched in one's memory forever, like his description of the terminally ill lady. Read this book, if you dream of travelling, if you had dreams of travelling. May bea towards the end of it you just might want to live the life Che Guevara did.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

    “I began dressing slowly, a task which wasn’t very difficult because the difference between our night wear and day wear consisted, generally, of shoes.” Two buddies take a break from their medical studies to tour their home country of Argentina, then Chile, Peru, Columbia, and Venezuela. What gives this fun, youthful adventure a different twist (in addition to the fact their destination is a leper colony) is that one of the buddies is Che Guevera, the guy who would go on to fight with Castro in t “I began dressing slowly, a task which wasn’t very difficult because the difference between our night wear and day wear consisted, generally, of shoes.” Two buddies take a break from their medical studies to tour their home country of Argentina, then Chile, Peru, Columbia, and Venezuela. What gives this fun, youthful adventure a different twist (in addition to the fact their destination is a leper colony) is that one of the buddies is Che Guevera, the guy who would go on to fight with Castro in the Cuban Revolution, and then to take up other fights in the Congo and then in Bolivia, where at age 39 he was captured and killed and then became an icon. Most of the book is about how they found ways to get from one place to another and what they ate, and I understand from my own travels on the cheap that it really can be all about these two things. His diary gives us the feel of being on the road: survival, adventure, the companionship of travelers, the kindness of strangers. What’s interesting about the journey of this book is that it helped make Che Che. Che, by the way, is just the Argentinian version of “mate” or “pal,” but those of us who’ve seen the t-shirts, the posters, we know what the name means to us. It means rebel. What he saw on this trip—poverty and illness and injustice--turned him from middle-class doctor into revolutionary. You can see it in passages like this, which starts out like a tame entry in a Peruvian tourist’s diary: “The most memorable part of Lima is the centre of the city around its magnificent cathedral … The church facades and alters demonstrate the complete range of Churrigueresque art in their love of gold. It was because of this vast wealth that the aristocracy resisted the armies of America up to the very last. Lima is the perfect example of a Peru which has never emerged from its feudal, colonial state. It is still waiting for the blood of a truly liberating revolution.” The reading ranged from tedious to startling, unsettling to inspiring. I’m very happy to have had the experience.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sleepless Dreamer

    The Motorcycle Diaries is a series of diary entries written by Che Guevara back when he was a 23 year old medical student traveling through South America with a motorcycle. We follow his mishaps, encounters with strangers, discussions about poverty and poor health care, and general impressions of South America of the 50s.  This feels like such an intimate look of a person. With our hindsight of what Che Guevara would become, every sentence feels fueled by context and predictions. We can already The Motorcycle Diaries is a series of diary entries written by Che Guevara back when he was a 23 year old medical student traveling through South America with a motorcycle. We follow his mishaps, encounters with strangers, discussions about poverty and poor health care, and general impressions of South America of the 50s.  This feels like such an intimate look of a person. With our hindsight of what Che Guevara would become, every sentence feels fueled by context and predictions. We can already feel his frustration about injustice and his desire to act. It's easy to fall in love with his humor and philosophical tangents.  I saw a lot of myself in this book (and not just because his descriptions of asthma were on point). There were moments that I felt like I could have written and parts that reflected thoughts that I myself had. It's very cool to consider that the act of traveling, even with the internet, has remained mostly the same. Like, I've absolutely done the whole *casually mentioning I'm from abroad in order to get special attention* thing.   On the long list of sad things that happened because of the coronavirus, my cancelled travel plans are certainly among the last but I was very much looking forward to traveling somewhere this summer. I had a vague plan involving working in the states for a while and then traveling in South America. (My alternative plan was to couchsurf through the Baltics because I'm just dying to see Estonia and I have no idea why or what I expect to see there.) So reading this book was somewhat bittersweet. It was like seeing  adventures through someone else's eyes and yeah okay, I'm weirdly jealous of 23 year old Che Guevara, which is not a sentence I thought I'd say in my life. At the same time, reading this also made me feel like I'm doing some traveling, in the cliche "reading books is like traveling!" type of way.   I don't know much about South America but I imagine this book will be fascinating for people who are more involved with Latin culture. Che Guevara is a very careful narrator and spends some time detailing the various sights and people that he encounters. I personally adored hearing about his experiences with the Incas of Peru.  All in all, this book was nice. I'm looking forward to reading about the Cuban revolution and thinking about young Ernesto here. To be honest, I don't have much inherent interest in South America (my Peruvian roommate will forever be disappointed in me). One of the reasons why I want to do this reading challenge is entirely because without it, I'll forever only read books about the Middle East, Europe and maybe a bit of Asia. That's got to change so I'm definitely looking forward to falling in love with South America. This feels like a solid beginning for that.  As a side note, I've decided to consider this as my Argentina book. Technically, in the writing of this book, Che Guevara was Argentinian and some parts of this book take place there. Also, I have other books I want to read for Cuba but no other ideas for books about Argentina.  What I'm Taking With Me   - South American hospitality sounds very impressive and I'm curious now.  - Alberto seems like a great guy and their friendship is lovely. - I think the coronavirus really highlights how connected are doctors and social issues. - The moments here when he suddenly stops being a young guy traveling and gets swept up in social justice and poverty are just so fascinating. --------------------- Now I have a strong urge to travel around South America by motorcycle and get inspired to fight against corruption and poverty. Review to come!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mahendra

    His account begins: This is not a story of heroic feats, or merely the narrative of a cynic; at least I do not mean it to be. It is a glimpse of two lives running parallel for a time, with similar hopes and convergent dreams. In nine months of a man’s life he can think a lot of things, from the loftiest meditations on philosophy to the most desperate longing for a bowl of soup — in total accord with the state of his stomach. And if, at the same time, he’s somewhat of an adventurer, he might live His account begins: This is not a story of heroic feats, or merely the narrative of a cynic; at least I do not mean it to be. It is a glimpse of two lives running parallel for a time, with similar hopes and convergent dreams. In nine months of a man’s life he can think a lot of things, from the loftiest meditations on philosophy to the most desperate longing for a bowl of soup — in total accord with the state of his stomach. And if, at the same time, he’s somewhat of an adventurer, he might live through episodes of interest to other people and his haphazard record might read something like these notes. And so, the coin was thrown in the air, turning many times, landing sometimes heads and other times tails. Man, the measure of all things, speaks here through my mouth and narrates in my own language that which my eyes have seen. It is likely that out of 10 possible heads I have seen only one true tail, or vice versa. In fact it’s probable, and there are no excuses, for these lips can only describe what these eyes actually see. Is it that our whole vision was never quite complete, that it was too transient or not always well-informed? Were we too uncompromising in our judgments? Okay, but this is how the typewriter interpreted those fleeting impulses raising my fingers to the keys, and those impulses have now died. Moreover, no one can be held responsible for them. The person who wrote these notes passed away the moment his feet touched Argentine soil again. The person who reorganizes and polishes them, me, is no longer, at least I am not the person I once was. All this wandering around “Our America with a capital A” has changed me more than I thought. In any photographic manual you’ll come across the strikingly clear image of a landscape, apparently taken by night, in the light of a full moon. The secret behind this magical vision of “darkness at noon” is usually revealed in the accompanying text. Readers of this book will not be well versed about the sensitivity of my retina — I can hardly sense it myself. So they will not be able to check what is said against a photographic plate to discover at precisely what time each of my “pictures” was taken. What this means is that if I present you with an image and say, for instance, that it was taken at night, you can either believe me, or not; it matters little to me, since if you don’t happen to know the scene I’ve “photographed” in my notes, it will be hard for you to find an alternative to the truth I’m about to tell. But I’ll leave you now, with myself, the man I used to be… And it ends: I saw his teeth and the cheeky grin with which he foretold history, I felt his handshake and, like a distant murmur, his formal goodbye. The night, folding in at contact with his words, overtook me again, enveloping me within it. But despite his words, I know knew...I knew that when the great guiding spirit cleaves humanity into two antagonistic halves, I would be with the people. I know this, I see it printed in the night sky that I, eclectic dissembler of doctrine and psychoanalyst of dogma, howling like one possessed, will assault the barricades or the trenches, will take my bloodstained weapon and, consumed with fury, slaughter any enemy who falls into my hand. And I see, as if a great exhaustion smothers this fresh exaltation, I see myself, immolated in the genuine revolution, the great equalizer of individual will, proclaiming the ultimate mea culpa. I feel my nostrils dilate, savoring the acrid smell of gunpowder and blood, the enemy's death; I steel my body, ready to do battle, and prepare myself to be a sacred space within which the bestial howl of the triumphant proletariat can resound with new energy and new hope. This is a diary of perhaps the greatest journey that any individual has ever made. Coming from a well to do family and taking time off from studying medicine, young Ernesto and friend Alberto travels across Latin America and witnesses the human condition and the suffering it faces. He is very much affected and it is this experience that shapes his future political ideology and what fuels his revolutionary spirit. He vividly paints Latin America as it is, exploited and downtrodden. Ernesto leaves Argentina an unconscious and idealistic boy and returns a cynical and wiser man. One can see here the metamorphosis of a young Argentine to the world's greatest revolutionary. Patria O Muerte! Hasta La Victoria, Siempre!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

    This is a first-hand account of Ernesto "Che" Guevara's trip across South America with his good friend. Guevara is not a professional writer and it shows in his straight-forward delivery of the material. It's a diary and it reads like a diary. There is very little exposition here. It's just a blow-by-blow account of the events that took place. What I found interesting was that Che was a passionate medical student who just wanted to help people, quite in contrast to his later guerrilla life with C This is a first-hand account of Ernesto "Che" Guevara's trip across South America with his good friend. Guevara is not a professional writer and it shows in his straight-forward delivery of the material. It's a diary and it reads like a diary. There is very little exposition here. It's just a blow-by-blow account of the events that took place. What I found interesting was that Che was a passionate medical student who just wanted to help people, quite in contrast to his later guerrilla life with Castro. It's amazing that such a caring, gentle person would go on to become such a vicious individual. I guess that's part of the enigmatic personality that has kept Che Guevara on people's minds for the past 50 years. I just wish all those Hot Topic kids would learn about the man behind that iconic image on their t-shirt. Some of them might not be so quick to wear those shirts in public anymore when they find out what a incompetent butcher he became in Castro's Cuba.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sash Chiesa

    For life, courage, adventure, endurance and whatnot. Non-adherence to Marxist ideology should not prejudice me against him. The moving memoir gave me an access to the mind of pre-revolutionary Che Guevara which undergoes significant changes as the motorcycle moves ahead. With all the bumps, jerks and brief halts, this is a fascinating journey. A real journey which made me dream throughout and imagine myself as a part of this adventure. Lastly, I do not rate such kind of non-fiction on literary m For life, courage, adventure, endurance and whatnot. Non-adherence to Marxist ideology should not prejudice me against him. The moving memoir gave me an access to the mind of pre-revolutionary Che Guevara which undergoes significant changes as the motorcycle moves ahead. With all the bumps, jerks and brief halts, this is a fascinating journey. A real journey which made me dream throughout and imagine myself as a part of this adventure. Lastly, I do not rate such kind of non-fiction on literary merit or judge it structurally as a book. Instead, on the merit of life, on the merit of human qualities and the extraordinary element of their lives which made them worth writing in the first place. To me, such books celebrate what is best in humans.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    My reading of "The Motorcycle Diaries" was corrupted by my multiple viewings of and strong affinity for the movie of the same name. I find it impossible to think of the book without comparing it to the movie. I was also influenced by not being able to decipher from the introduction and preface whether this was a first-time publication of the diaries done before the movie, a first-time publication to correspond with the movie, or a cleaned-up version of previously-published materials to correspon My reading of "The Motorcycle Diaries" was corrupted by my multiple viewings of and strong affinity for the movie of the same name. I find it impossible to think of the book without comparing it to the movie. I was also influenced by not being able to decipher from the introduction and preface whether this was a first-time publication of the diaries done before the movie, a first-time publication to correspond with the movie, or a cleaned-up version of previously-published materials to correspond with the movie. The Diaries are not nearly as charming as the movie, and if someone asked which I would recommend, I would certainly choose the movie over the book for artistic merit, plot and structure. For an historical document the book is certainly superior. In his diary, Guevara emphasizes the need for proper medicine, and describes and empathizes with the South American wage-laborer and peasant, while also jovially recalling the meals and beds he and friend Alberto Grenados bummed from or tricked out of the bourgeois class. Guevara doesn't color the view of himself with the rose, hero-tinted glasses that Salles uses in the movie, and I think presents a more honest picture of his journey through South America. But for someone only mildly acquainted with Guevara, the movie provides a more succinct summary of how the journey began the evolution of Ernesto into Che.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sikata

    Ernesto or "Che" Guevara was a doctor. How many times have I thought of travelling and practicing medicine, reading books? Many times is the answer. How many times I've done it? Zero! ☹️ "There we understood that our vocation, our true vocation, was to move for eternity along the roads and seas of the world. Always curious, looking into everything that came before our eyes, sniffing out each corner but only ever faintly — not setting down roots in any land or staying long enough to see the subs Ernesto or "Che" Guevara was a doctor. How many times have I thought of travelling and practicing medicine, reading books? Many times is the answer. How many times I've done it? Zero! ☹️ "There we understood that our vocation, our true vocation, was to move for eternity along the roads and seas of the world. Always curious, looking into everything that came before our eyes, sniffing out each corner but only ever faintly — not setting down roots in any land or staying long enough to see the substratum of things; the outer limits would suffice." This book is a travelogue. The epic journey of a drop out medico and a biochemist across Latin America. Ernesto has beautifully described the landscapes as well as the raw lives of the common people of Latin America. " the sea has always been a confidant, a friend absorbing all it is told and never revealing those secrets; always giving the best advice — its meaningful noises can be interpreted any way you choose." The turmoils they face, the daily grind and the havoc created by America. Makes you see the "most powerful country" in a new way. When you see and live so close that kind of misery, a spark of rebellion is likely to be lit in your soul. "It is at times like this, when a doctor is conscious of his complete powerlessness, that he longs for change: a change to prevent the injustice of a system..." "How long this present order, based on an absurd idea of caste, will last is not within my means to answer, but it’s time that those who govern spent less time publicizing their own virtues and more money, much more money, funding socially useful works." Though not fully enlightening us with how he became a guerilla leader, it does give us some insights through his writings. Surviving extreme temperatures and hunger and his love for "La Poderosa" and his friendship with Alberto Granado, we come to love "Che" in this book. A good soul who met a horrible death at a young age. Finally- It is there, in the final moments, for people whose farthest horizon has always been tomorrow, that one comprehends the profound tragedy circumscribing the life of the proletariat the world over

  18. 4 out of 5

    Joseph

    Adventure and travel literature is my go-to genre when I'm reading books, and a couple of years ago I came across a book called Chasing Che: A Motorcycle Journey in Search of the Guevara Legend. The author decides to revisit the famous route Che Guevara took across South America when he was 23/24. I thought about it and thought that perhaps I should read Guevara's book first, so I picked it up and put it on the shelf, waiting to get to it someday. In 2004, a film version of The Motorcycle Diaries Adventure and travel literature is my go-to genre when I'm reading books, and a couple of years ago I came across a book called Chasing Che: A Motorcycle Journey in Search of the Guevara Legend. The author decides to revisit the famous route Che Guevara took across South America when he was 23/24. I thought about it and thought that perhaps I should read Guevara's book first, so I picked it up and put it on the shelf, waiting to get to it someday. In 2004, a film version of The Motorcycle Diaries was released, and I had the dvd from Netflix about a year later. I was nursing a dying dog at the time, and never finished watching it. I was, however, interested in the overall story. Like most Americans, my knowledge of Che Guevara was binary: he was either a thuggish, Marxist, murdering revolutionary, or a pop culture icon for disaffected youths who knew nothing about him. The movie, and now the book, allowed me a chance to meet the real Ernesto Guevara, later known as Che, in the formative days of his early 20s, before he was radicalized. Every revolutionary is someone's freedom fighter, and vice versa, so I was open to learning about the man, good and bad. Now that I've finished the book, I'm not completely sure what I really know about Guevara, to be honest. This book has a nice introduction by Guevara's daughter, and a lengthy Foreward by some academic who is in thrall with Che the revolutionary. My thoughts going into the book would be that of a clear, concise evolution of a young, not-so-naive medical student, into an angry intellectual so appalled by living and working conditions of the people he met that he was rushing to take up arms against the capitalist order. We really don't get that. Instead, Guevara writes about his trip with his traveling companion, the ways in which they con people out of food and shelter, how nice the Civil Guard is in various countries, and Guevara's frequent asthma attacks. Ok, it's not that blase. Guevara does write some about the people he meets. The bourgeoisie are described with acrid wit, hardly ever in a positive light, whereas the indigenous peoples are barely dealt with at all, except as backdrops, traveling companions who rarely speak but have filthy hygiene. In fact, in much of the way Guevara describes the peasantry, he reminds me of a limousine liberal; aware of the plight of the underclass and even an advocate for them, but probably not people to be invited over for Sunday dinner. In Venezuela, I think it was, he encounters a good number of blacks, and describes them as "lazy" and "indolent." Thinking of how Che became a great hero of Cuba with its large Afro-Cuban population, it was quite a surprise to read that. Guevara and his friend, a bio-chemist, are quick to use their education as status when possible, and have no trouble cheating people out of money for food, etc. I suppose he wasn't much of a Marxist at this point. Truth be known, Guevara comes across as kind of an asshole. He doesn't exhibit any real tenderness or concern about anyone other than himself, excepting perhaps the patients he met in a few leper colonies along the way (Guevara and his friend were interested in leprology). He leaves behind a girlfriend to make this trip, he quarrels with his friend, he's mean to animals and has no sympathy for a poor puppy he meets, and generally acts like a spoiled brat. When he's hungry, the future Marxist doesn't wonder too much about the hunger of the peasants he meets, or when he's upset about being ambushed by mosquitoes, he doesn't think about the people living in the jungle who face that nuisance on a daily basis. His trip is mostly taken with blinders on, oblivious to how his own actions affect those around him. So why a four star review? Well, dammit, he's like that annoying younger brother you have, the one who is a pest and who is always getting into trouble. You always end up admiring his spunk, despite his flaws, and that's what happened to me. Guevara truly had a difficult journey, and with his cunning, and, yes, lies and thievery, makes do with his hardship and sees the journey through. Whether it's Guevara's original text or the translation, this book is a joy to read. The prose is jaunty and personal and funny and sad. You get a real sense of how Guevara must have been in person at this time in his life. Cocky and boyish, it's hard not to like the guy. There are also many fascinating accounts of cities, Machu Picchu, etc. that are riveting to read. It's in the last chapter that Guevara's future self emerges. I imagine this was written as a coda, but he can see that his life is going to change and it will probably end with an early death. He finally expresses the injustice in the world, and announces he will ally himself with the people when the time comes to be held accountable. Years later, Guevara will be in Guatemala during a CIA-inspired coup takes place, forcing Guevara to choose sides in the great struggle he saw coming. This edition has as an addendum a speech given by Guevara in the early 60s to some Cuban students. He lays out his view of the role of the people in the struggle, and engages in some typical Marxist doublespeak. It was interesting to see how Guevara the revolutionary saw the world, compared to the journey just read. It was like reading about two different people. I'm not so sure it's a needed part of the book. It's a little spoiler-y, to be honest, about the feelings I had developed about Guevara the young student. I think I would have preferred to keep my rose-colored glasses on for a little while longer, as scratched as they might be.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Calzean

    After reading The Bolivian Diary: Authorized Edition it was interesting to go back and reread this earlier more well-known work. In this one he is a much happier person soaking in the beauty of nature and the friendliness of the people. He dreams of returning after his road trip to work maybe in a leper hospital. There's a lot about being hungry and who fed him what. In between eating, fixing the motorcycle and then hitching rides, there are glimpses of his social conscious, his hatred of America After reading The Bolivian Diary: Authorized Edition it was interesting to go back and reread this earlier more well-known work. In this one he is a much happier person soaking in the beauty of nature and the friendliness of the people. He dreams of returning after his road trip to work maybe in a leper hospital. There's a lot about being hungry and who fed him what. In between eating, fixing the motorcycle and then hitching rides, there are glimpses of his social conscious, his hatred of American Imperialism and the poverty of the suppressed.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    The diary of legendary revolutionist, Che Guevara, as he tours Latin America by motorcycle in his early twenties. This is a much more sensitive and positive Che, an eternal optimist, not the hard-hearted and resolute guerilla fighter of the Cuban revolution. The description is beautiful and I was surprised how poignant and articulate the man was (shouldn’t have been a shock, given his education and oration skills). The trip through Chile, Peru, Columbia and Venezuela certainly opened Guevara’s e The diary of legendary revolutionist, Che Guevara, as he tours Latin America by motorcycle in his early twenties. This is a much more sensitive and positive Che, an eternal optimist, not the hard-hearted and resolute guerilla fighter of the Cuban revolution. The description is beautiful and I was surprised how poignant and articulate the man was (shouldn’t have been a shock, given his education and oration skills). The trip through Chile, Peru, Columbia and Venezuela certainly opened Guevara’s eyes to the plight of the people in his home continent, driven home by the treatment of the Indians and lepers. The copper mines of Chile struck Che hard, paving the way for his anti-capitalist views. Seeing the impact of the Spanish conquistadors on the noble buildings of the Inca people surely planted the seed of revolution. The lessons learned in the physical demands of his tour: cold, hunger and his debilitating asthma undoubtedly served him well in the mountains of Cuba during the revolution. It’s an insightful look into the young mind of a world icon. At the end of the diary is a speech given by Che in Havana after the Cuban revolution. The tone and mindset are quite different from the youth in the diary. Also, what a thought was a nice touch, was an introduction given by Che’s daughter, Aleida, at the start of the book. A must-read book for fans of Guevara and/or Cuba.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ashley Marie

    3.5-4 stars Really interesting, and it actually reads like the diary it is. Took longer than I expected to get through all of it, but that's okay -- sometimes Che would meander off and wax philosophical here and there and then get back to what he'd started talking about, but that's how diaries go: personal thoughts. I was a bit perplexed by the idea that Che and Alberto made it through 2/3 of their journey with next to no money and basically existed on the hospitality of strangers. Perplexing mos 3.5-4 stars Really interesting, and it actually reads like the diary it is. Took longer than I expected to get through all of it, but that's okay -- sometimes Che would meander off and wax philosophical here and there and then get back to what he'd started talking about, but that's how diaries go: personal thoughts. I was a bit perplexed by the idea that Che and Alberto made it through 2/3 of their journey with next to no money and basically existed on the hospitality of strangers. Perplexing most likely because I don't think it's something anyone could do in the US in 2017, but that's one of the differences between the US in 2017 and South America in the 1950s. Beyond that, his compassion and intelligence shines on the page, and because it's a diary you really feel how upset he is to see people living in squalor and without proper care. His speech toward the end of the book feels so heartfelt and passionate. I also liked the bookends of prologue and epilogue written by Che's father, Ernesto Guevara Lynch. Sidenote: traveling through Peru, Brazil, etc and running across names like Manaus and Iquitos gave me flashbacks to the old Amazon Trail game. Gonna go play some. Bye!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Julia

    Although it took me almost a month to read this relatively short book, I found it very interresting and written in a literary reflective style. It made me wish my journal sounded as coherent and intelligent. The Diary did a great job expressing the feelings and thoughts of a young man who changed from his journey through Latin America. It was really cool to get into the young Che's head and see how, why, and when he began to change into the revolutionary icon so many of us know him as today. Sin Although it took me almost a month to read this relatively short book, I found it very interresting and written in a literary reflective style. It made me wish my journal sounded as coherent and intelligent. The Diary did a great job expressing the feelings and thoughts of a young man who changed from his journey through Latin America. It was really cool to get into the young Che's head and see how, why, and when he began to change into the revolutionary icon so many of us know him as today. Since this is a diary, it reads as one, and the events that create an overarching continuous story are loosely held together. However, where this lacks in story, the Diary makes up for in the analytical, internal musings of Che's mind.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Gary

    So very glad I read this...some evening...when I am in the frame of mind, I'd like to see the film..... Very interesting,but the man was not the best writer...IMHO......but his life is interesting,and I grew to have a better understanding of his motivations in Cuba....I think his heart was in the right place, not sure Communism is the best thing for Cuba...but hell, America seems to have its problems...is any form of government the best? Maybe a mixture... Anyone have a suggestion of a biography t So very glad I read this...some evening...when I am in the frame of mind, I'd like to see the film..... Very interesting,but the man was not the best writer...IMHO......but his life is interesting,and I grew to have a better understanding of his motivations in Cuba....I think his heart was in the right place, not sure Communism is the best thing for Cuba...but hell, America seems to have its problems...is any form of government the best? Maybe a mixture... Anyone have a suggestion of a biography that's a great read about this man? I'd sure like to hear about it. I hope to see Cuba someday. I wish I could get there now, before it becomes so Americanized as many fear now it will.....

  24. 5 out of 5

    Madhulika Liddle

    Alberto Korda’s iconic photo of Che Guevara, moustached and capped, staring away into the distance, is arguably the most easily recognizable symbol of revolution around the world. I've seen that hundreds of times, on everything from T-shirts to coasters, satchels to posters to other stuff that has nothing even remotely to do with Che, Latin America, or revolution. That photo, incidentally, was also what prompted me to read Che’s The Motorcycle Diaries in the first place (no, I haven't seen the m Alberto Korda’s iconic photo of Che Guevara, moustached and capped, staring away into the distance, is arguably the most easily recognizable symbol of revolution around the world. I've seen that hundreds of times, on everything from T-shirts to coasters, satchels to posters to other stuff that has nothing even remotely to do with Che, Latin America, or revolution. That photo, incidentally, was also what prompted me to read Che’s The Motorcycle Diaries in the first place (no, I haven't seen the movie, but probably will now). And what a throughly engrossing little book this is. In 1952, just about to complete his medical degree and become a doctor, the then-24 year old Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara and his friend, the leprologist Alberto Granado, set off on a motorcycle named La Poderosa (‘The Mighty One’, a hilariously inappropriate name, as it turned out) across South America. This diary, its entries interspersed with the occasional letter from Che to his mother back home, recounts the duo’s travels, across Argentina, into the Andes to Chile, through Peru, Colombia and Venezuela, finally ending in Caracas. Occasionally, we see a glimpse of the revolutionary this footloose and fancy free young man was to become. When he writes about the plight of the native South Americans, the exploitation of the land by European and North American corporates and governments. When he describes the havoc wreaked on the land and its indigenous people by the conquistadors, or the wide gap between the wealthy and the poor. When he talks about the horrific copper mines of Chuquicamata.. But, in its main, this is a travelogue that combines free-spirited backpacking (with our two heroes begging their way, for everything from food to lodging to transport, across the continent) with hair-raising adventure (sharing a truck with a herd of cattle, through the highest roads in the Andes? Check. Going down the Amazon on a raft? Check. Trekking across the desert? Check—even if that last one was an effort that petered out swiftly). There is humour here, fun, and some interesting insights into the times, the continent, and the man himself. My only grouse with The Motorcycle Diaries was that Guevara tends to be too brief at times. For instance, we do not get to know how and exactly where he and Granado parted ways; he is similarly laconic about the planning of the trip, and of his own condition (we do know, through occasional mentions of it, that Guevara suffered almost continuously from asthma all through the trip, but why he undertook it despite that condition, remains unanswered). A little more fleshing out, and this could've been an even better book. Still, one of the more enthralling memoirs I've read.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Anushka

    This book, written years before Che became a revolutionary icon, gives his story a human touch. (Auto) biographies usually serve the purpose of mythfying a person, whereas this book does the opposite for Che. Now mostly remembered as a mythical persona, it's refreshing to see the 24-year old Che's perspective and a latent revolutionary spirit in him as he travels across Latin America, a continent bruised and exploited first by the colonisers, then the United States. He gradually undergoes a spir This book, written years before Che became a revolutionary icon, gives his story a human touch. (Auto) biographies usually serve the purpose of mythfying a person, whereas this book does the opposite for Che. Now mostly remembered as a mythical persona, it's refreshing to see the 24-year old Che's perspective and a latent revolutionary spirit in him as he travels across Latin America, a continent bruised and exploited first by the colonisers, then the United States. He gradually undergoes a spiritual revelation as he comes in contact with the very different, but also similar lives people led in the continent's post-colonial era. There's a candor in his writing that made me appreciate the book, a genuine humility and a drive to help others which is inspiring. I don't want to ponder upon the things he actually wrote and what was interpolated later, that is how humans have always written about their own lives. It's just that even before I started The Motorcycle Diaries , I knew that the only reason I was reading this is because of who wrote it, otherwise, as a person who rarely enjoys travelogues I would have overlooked it. But Che's growing sympathy and understanding of his continent's people struck a chord with me, which as an extremely empathetic person (almost to a fault sometimes), I found very encouraging.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kali Srikanth

    Translated by his daughter, this book is a travel diary of Ernesto Che Guevara as an enthusiastic & excited youth, who planned an adventurous trip to all of Latin America, on a Motorcycle, along with a friend. Book is enriched by rare collection of photographs that boasts of places they visited, people they met, food they ate & hiccups they experienced. One thing is clearly evident; they carried lot of energy with them. Sure they were low on fuel, finance & luck, but they got great passion for li Translated by his daughter, this book is a travel diary of Ernesto Che Guevara as an enthusiastic & excited youth, who planned an adventurous trip to all of Latin America, on a Motorcycle, along with a friend. Book is enriched by rare collection of photographs that boasts of places they visited, people they met, food they ate & hiccups they experienced. One thing is clearly evident; they carried lot of energy with them. Sure they were low on fuel, finance & luck, but they got great passion for life & a Great Spirit to move forward as life takes them. This book is a mere travelogue on surface level, but on deeper level, it’s an introduction to the human face of Che Guevera, who was introduced to the world of suffering that has a role in shaping of a revolutionary in him. And at the same level, book is abrupt, incomplete and mere-a-bore-at-parts too. So, to me, liking or disliking this book greatly depends on two statements: 1. You have just heard of Che Guevara. 2. You know a great deal about the great Che Guevera. I fall in the first category, hence 3 stars. Personal Note: I heard some positive words about the movie so, I think I will enrich this review soon with a word or two about it.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mel Vincent

    This book told me how Ernesto Guevara transformed from a humble and passionate medical student into a articulate, cunning and brilliant revolutionary who not only changed the face of the entire Latin American continent but shaped the perspectives and the thoughts of millions of people from all the world over. This book was eloquently penned and I thought that I was literally reading a novel. Che Guevara could have been a novelist or a writer and it would have produced a significant impact as well This book told me how Ernesto Guevara transformed from a humble and passionate medical student into a articulate, cunning and brilliant revolutionary who not only changed the face of the entire Latin American continent but shaped the perspectives and the thoughts of millions of people from all the world over. This book was eloquently penned and I thought that I was literally reading a novel. Che Guevara could have been a novelist or a writer and it would have produced a significant impact as well. How he relates and describes the events, the journeys, the places, the people, the emotions that he and Alberto and others felt and many other instances in this book was superbly elaborated with intelligence, humor, wit and style. It also showed us how simple this man was and how he truly embraced the belief of a Pan South American ideology prior to his rise as a revolutionary. From his early life, Che Guevara embodied the necessary traits, ideologies, beliefs and motivations that propelled him as the revolutionary and the icon that we now know today.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Maria

    "After receiving my degree I began to travel through Latin America. Except for Haiti and the Dominican Republic, I have visited - in one way or another - all the countries of Latin America. In the way I traveled, first as a student and afterward as a doctor, I beganto come into close contact with poverty, with hunger, with disease, with the inability to cure a child because of the lack of resources... And I began to see there was something that, at that time, seemed to me almost as important as "After receiving my degree I began to travel through Latin America. Except for Haiti and the Dominican Republic, I have visited - in one way or another - all the countries of Latin America. In the way I traveled, first as a student and afterward as a doctor, I beganto come into close contact with poverty, with hunger, with disease, with the inability to cure a child because of the lack of resources... And I began to see there was something that, at that time, seemed to me almost as important as being a famous researcher or making some substantial contribution to medical science, and this was helping those people." Photo taken from El Paso, TX with a view towards Cd. Juarez, Mexico (to be more specific, a vulnerable area called Anapra.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lexie

    2.5 Stars. The stuff we actually do in class about the book is often more interesting than the book itself. But there were some interesting insights that this book showed, and it was quite the journey they went on I will admit.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Phoenix2

    Quite enjoyable and interesting. I liked that he was honest about what he saw and he wrote down his feelings as well.

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