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Latin American History - Book Report/Review Example

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Latin American History: Critical Review of a Book Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life by J. Lee Anderson Jon Lee Anderson’s book, Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life, represents both detailed and highly readable biography of the Argentinian-born revolutionary, guerilla fighter and major figure of the Cuban Revolution, Ernesto “Che” Guevara, whose eventful life and mysteriously heroic appearance have made him a pop-culture symbol of resistance worldwide…
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Download file to see previous pages Having expounded on Che’s childhood and adolescence, Anderson not only aptly portrayed the immediate family surroundings of the young Ernesto Guevara, but also vividly described the late post-colonial and pre-second-world-war realities in Argentina, with its sharp socio-economic contrasts, political peculiarities, and enormous potential for an oncoming turmoil. The author impartially writes about the early bohemian years of Che, his “apparent unconcern with Argentine politics” and “complete apathy about political activism”, seen as a kind of “consistent pattern” during his growing-up period (Anderson, 1997, p.31). Without a hint of ideological or other bias, or cliche, Anderson dissects the full complexity of Ernesto Guevara’s character, including his insouciance, penchant for shocking people, bisexual interludes, etc., thus discerning and clearly separating the man – even not that ordinary one - from his mythological projection. In doing so, Anderson traces the emergence of what he called “the more serious side to Ernesto”, when the young man is seen as an avid reader of various literature, including such with “more of social content” (Anderson, 1997, pp.37-38). The transformation period, during which the future revolutionary experienced the pains of his internal upheaval, or in other words, his maturation, is scrutinized by the author in an attempt to reveal and investigate all the factors that took part in this process of transformation; including the influence of the ideas from the books read, the jolt of Ernesto’s grandmother death and woes of his parents’ economic and marital collapse. Meanwhile, Argentina under Juan Peron is keenly exposed, along with Argentines’ attitudes towards their immediate - Peron presidency and respective policy - and wider (international) environment, thus setting the background in which Ernesto’s own “political emotions” gradually started to develop (Anderson, 1997, p.52). The way young Ernesto got involved in taking a stance on issues resulting from the then political reality in Argentina – in the words of Anderson as citing Dolores Moyano, “In his eyes, the twin evils in Latin America were the native oligarchies and the United States” (1997, p.53) – is impartially displayed as nothing out of the ordinary, since many young Argentinians did it in very same way; while Ernesto’s disconcerting lack of definite point of view – be it nationalist or communist one – as noted by Anderson, once again, come out overwhelmingly in favor of demystifying the eccentric nature of Che. The first timid attempts of Ernesto in writing, his medical study, the relationship with Chichina, and most notably, the episode with the so-called ‘escape to the North’ on the back of “La Poderosa – a vintage 500 cc Norton motorcycle” (1997, p.70) are considered strong evidences altogether in Anderson’s thesis of an ordinary – more or less - young man headed for the thorny task to find his bearings in a rapidly changing world; such as the described as a revelation by Ernesto himself, “Note on the Margin”, which, according to Anderson, “must be seen as a decisive personal testimonial, for ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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