The Bolivian Diary

Seven Stories Pr. Dec. 2021. 336p. ISBN 9781644210741. pap. $19.95. AUTOBIOG
When a disguised Che Guevara arrived in Bolivia in November of 1966, he aimed to launch the opening salvo of a wave of revolutions across South America that would liberate the continent from imperialist regimes. Less than a year later, unable to succeed against overwhelming odds as he had a decade earlier in Cuba, Che was captured and executed by U.S.-backed forces of President Barrientos. In his possession was a handwritten notebook recording the daily struggles of the intervening months, as Che’s dwindling forces failed to enlist the local peasantry. From the very first entry with its catalogue of biting and stinging insects, readers are immersed in the grim and gritty reality of guerilla warfare, a litany of illness, hunger, privation, treachery, danger, and death. Revealed in swift matter-of-fact entries is Che the man, fallible yet determined, resilient, and grimly humorous in the face of terrible losses; it is a story of heartrending pathos.
VERDICT Among Seven Stories Press’s vibrant English and Spanish editions of Che’s complete works, this raw account of his desperate and ultimately tragic final campaign makes a riveting and sobering bookend to the youthful idealism of his cult classic The Motorcycle Diaries.
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