cover image THE AFRICAN DREAM: The Diaries of the Revolutionary War in the Congo

THE AFRICAN DREAM: The Diaries of the Revolutionary War in the Congo

Ernesto Che Guevara, , trans. by Patrick Camiller, with introduction by Richard Gott and foreword by . Grove, $13 (244pp) ISBN 978-0-8021-3834-7

"This is the history of a failure." With these words, Guevara, the Cuban revolutionary and leftist icon killed in Bolivia in 1967, launches into a brutally honest account of Cuba's disastrous 1965 intervention in Congo. Guevara traveled to Congo to foment a Communist revolution in a country that—then as now—was in a state of anarchy. But as he readily admits, he was unable to mobilize his Cuban forces and Congolese allies into a cohesive force. Much of the blame he lays at the feet of the Congolese, "the poorest example of a fighter that I have ever come across to now." But Guevara's ruminations about the frustrations of his insurgency are only part of these "war diaries." Guevara's correspondence with Congolese guerrilla leaders is also included, as are his often negative comments on these leaders. Throughout, Guevara, who was trained as a doctor, displays the analytical mind that made him famous. For example, in hindsight, his prediction that Laurent Kabila was the only guerrilla leader with the potential to rise to the top looks prescient, since Kabila ruled the Congo for a time in the 1990s. Readers looking for an introduction to Che will want to consult the recent comprehensive biography by journalist Jon Lee Anderson—but no matter their ideology, readers will find that these writings further their understanding of one of the late 20th century's most intriguing historical figures. 8 pages b&w photos not seen by PW. (Oct.)