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Chasing Che: A Motorcycle Journey in Search of the Guevara Legend (2000)

by Patrick Symmes

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I will call him "Pinchbeckian" for how he messed up what seemed like a pretty great idea: following the path that Che took during his "Motorcycle Diaries" in order to get at the essence of the man. Unfortunately, his cynicism and self-importance get in the way of his mission and grate on the reader. ( )
  blake.rosser | Jul 28, 2013 |
Cuba/Che Guevara
  Budzul | Jun 1, 2008 |
This was a great book. A friend of mine wanted to take the same journey. I had not known a lot about Che', and this was a good introduction. The author retraces the route taken by Che' before he was involved in the Cuban Revolution. ( )
  dickcraig | Nov 29, 2007 |
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Because of the circumstances in which I traveled, first as a student and later as a doctor, I came into close contact with poverty, hunger, and disease; with the inability to treat a child because of lack of money; with the stupefaction provoked by continual hunger and punishment....And I began to realize that there were things that were almost as important to me as becoming a famous scientist or making a significant contribution to medical science: I wanted to help those people. -- Ernesto "Che" Guevara, 1960
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for gusanos everywhere
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Two hundred and twenty-nine miles due south of Buenos Aires the twin cylinders hesitated once, caught again, hesitated again, and then finally spun down into silence.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0375702652, Paperback)

A motorcycle trip in 1952 marked a turning point for Ernesto Guevara Lynch de la Serna, a medical student returning from a journey into poverty and oppression with a vision of guerilla-style change and a new name, Che Guevara. Going on to help overthrow the Cuban government, align himself with Castro, and become elevated to martyred hero status when he was executed in Bolivia in 1967, Guevara's likeness is now commercialized and captured on T-shirts, castanets, and watches.

New York writer Patrick Symmes embarks on motorcycle tracing Guevara's route through Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, Chile, and Cuba, seeking insight into what Guevara experienced and what his political movement wrought. Meeting with those who knew the young Che--among them a lover, a leper, and his motorcycle traveling cohort--proves interesting enough, though rarely insightful since some were children at the time, some are confused, and others refuse to talk openly. More revealing are Symmes's travels on his bike, nicknamed La Cucaracha. He winds through both Buenos Aires' high society and Peruvian poverty, finding a fragmented country where revolutions have brought mountain peasants fleeing to shanty towns, and where blind idealism coexists with blatant denouncement of the violent tactics used by Cuban Communists, even by Che's most respected soldiers. Beautifully written, the stories that unfold here reflect the complex contradiction that endures in Latin America three long decades after Ernesto "Che" Guevara's death. --Melissa Rossi

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:26:11 -0400)

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