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Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life, by Jon Lee Anderson

Updated on June 8, 2013

I admit, despite being a lover of history, I had never heard of Che Guevara before discovering this audiobook at my local library. The combination of the subject matter and the length of the book peeked my curiosity. The audiobook includes a whopping 29 discs for a running time of approximately 37 hours. Based off the summary on the back and the fact that this figure was unknown to me, I could not comprehend how there was enough material to fill up that many minutes of history.

After listening to the book over nearly a month of commuting, I now realize that "enough" material translates to "too much" material in this case. The facts about Che, born Ernesto Guevara, are covered in full detail. From his birth to his early, violent death, Mr. Anderson covers everything; and I mean everything! Anyone who listens to audiobooks frequently and can absorb everything they listen to should be an absolute Che Guevara expert after consuming this history. Unfortunately, because of the plethora of information that can be awfully drawn out, I found myself getting habitually bored while listening.

Anderson starts with Ernesto's childhood in Argentina. He divulges a plethora of information about the boy's parents and their social status. He then covers everything from Ernesto's chronic asthma, to his education in medical school, to his journeys around South America, and then fills most of the book with details about the Cuban conflict. He describes Fidel Castro's involvement in the revolution as much as Che's. The latter part of the tale describes Che's desire to take part in further revolutions and his grisly death in Bolivia in 1967.

I am content that I learned something I did not previously know, and listening to this book inspires me to read further about the revolutions in South America. I also now have an urge to learn more about the Marxist, Communist and Socialist philosophies that Guevara followed. As a piece of history, Che Guevara is a great work, I just wish it was a little shorter and a bit less informative.


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