This is the third biography of Ernesto Guevara de la Serna to appear in the year in which his mutilated body was retrieved from an unmarked grave in Bolivia and ceremoniously reburied in Cuba. The first, Che, by Jon Lee Anderson (Forecasts, March 10), may still be the best for its deft style and its details of Che's post-Cuba adventures. It is also the only one to carry interviews with Che's widow, Aleida. The second, Companero, by Jorge Castaneda (Forecasts, Aug. 11), is the least successful. Effectively translated by Roberts, the book in hand furnishes the most data, often hour-by-hour, on the Cuban insurgency in which Che was the leading non-Cuban participant, and makes the now-familiar story as gripping as if new. Yet Taibo concedes at the start, ""This is not an easy book,"" and he compounds the difficulty by setting in boldface type all quotes from Guevara, whether attributed or documented. Like previous biographers, Taibo, a Mexican novelist and historian, sees Che's severe asthma as a driving though debilitating force, and labels him ""a secular Christ"" in his spurning of fame and fortune to better identify with exploited peasantry, and in his quest for martyrdom. Che came to his causes, he claimed, ""with a bulletproof spirit."" His myth is kept alive in Taibo's biography. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/29/1997 Release date: 10/01/1997 Genre: Nonfiction
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