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Compañero: The Life and Death of Che Guevara

3.91  ·  Rating Details  ·  847 Ratings  ·  50 Reviews
Decades ago, in the wilds of southeastern Bolivia, the life of Ernesto Guevara de la Serna came to a sudden, inglorious end. An unquenchable myth was born. To this day, the mere mention of "Che" summons up a mental picture of the bearded revolutionary leader who was deeply & directly involved in the upheavals in Latin America & Africa during the '50s & '60s. Fr ...more
Paperback, 496 pages
Published October 27th 1998 by Vintage (first published January 1st 1997)
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Olga Milemis
Jan 23, 2015 Olga Milemis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Compañero" (1997) nos acerca a la figura de Ernesto «Che» Guevara, un personaje que, aunque es extremadamente popular, tiene aspectos poco conocidos. Aquí no solamente encontramos al hombre cuya trayectoria revolucionaria arrastra al lector desde La Habana y Argel hasta los campos de batalla del Congo y Bolivia, sino que también nos topamos con el médico, economista, filósofo social, estratega militar y amigo y confidente de Fidel Castro.

Usando documentación de archivos de tres continentes y m
Oct 10, 2010 Donna rated it liked it
Recommends it for: people who believe in equality
Recommended to Donna by: myself
This book is highly detailed and interesting, and clearly the author has done mammoth amounts of research (count the footnotes!!)
Having read this, I feel that my respect for Che Guevara has grown because the portrait Castaneda has painted of him is a very human one - a man with both great strengths and great flaws. I feel that only now that I have read the story of his life can I truly appreciate his legacy, and I can see beyond the famous Korda photograph that has been capitalized so much.
Erik Graff
Dec 29, 2015 Erik Graff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 60s fans, Che fans, Cuban history fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
This is a translation of a Spanish-language biography and may suffer as a result. Anderson's Che Guevara is more readable. Detailed and well-documented, the bulk of the text is arduous going. The concluding chapter describing Guevara's posthumous cultural influence is, however, almost lyrical and, I think, insightful. If there's a better biography available, I don't know of it.
Feb 22, 2010 Laurel rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-read-2010
The perfect introduction for a Che neophyte. Academic, yet accessible. What a man of passion, he sacrificed everything for his cause. I learned much about Guevara, but also about Castro, the Soviet-Sino conflict, guerilla warfare, and political intrigue in the 60s. I thought the final chapter was poignant and accurately placed Che Guevara as a man of vision for the radicals of the 60s.
Jul 28, 2008 Mandy rated it really liked it
I've mentioned before my difficulty regarding biographies. By definition, a biography is going to introduce the bias and opinions of the author, and reflect any limitations in that author's research.

This book is phenomenal and chronicles Che's entire life from a priviledged birth to his world famous execution. It is well researched and it is evident that the author spent years researching and writing this book. He has personally spoken to some of the most central figures in Che's life and as suc
Mar 10, 2008 Dave-O rated it it was amazing
Thoroughly researched and well-written, this book is a must for anyone interested in the motivations behind one of the most legendary figures of the 20th Century.

Che Guevara always wanted to be on the front lines of any conflict against Yankee imperialism. The spearheaded-ness that ousted the Batista regime in Cuba led him to Russia, China, the Congo and ultimately to Bolivia where he was killed in a botched rebellion. The Bolivian episode occupies the final chapters of the book in great detail
I'm notorious for not being able to plow through history books, unless they're extremely engaging. Truth is, I've been working on this one for a few years now--it hasn't left my nightstand in a while.
I find it to be pretty much unbiased, based on letters, documents, and interviews--tough, considering that he was such a controversial figure. But then again, any author willing to take on this task has to be interested in the subject, consider them remarkable in one way or another. However, not the
Oct 23, 2012 Amber rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow. If you have ever questioned why you see countless kids wearing Che's face - read this book and it will make you still wonder what they are thinking.


Che's history is absolutely a powerful one, however, whether it was for the good, bad or indifferent - well I've formed my opinion at least - thanks to this book.

Ignore the footnotes as they are not helpful and only serve to confuse the reader. This is a great book though, well written and really does a good job in explaining the far r
Tom Wilson
Jan 29, 2016 Tom Wilson rated it it was amazing
Too often books of history seek to extricate themselves from the realm of the search. They present things as known, or merely reflect a simplified and conventional approach of referring to and outlining competing schools of thought and a small and consumable body of contested evidence. Such approaches lack an enriching quality, found in the evaluation of detail, the penetration of complexity and ultimately a test of boundless conflicting accounts. It is pointless, and quite frankly condescending ...more
Mar 09, 2015 Sebas added it
Castañeda has made an amazing job describing the changing ideas and development of such a character as is El Che. Being Argentinian myself, I felt identified to the power and revolutionary ideas presented in this biography. The interviews and quotes by El Che himself are the greatest contribution to this well written biography. The author accounts for many of his powerful decisions in the economic and armada powers he controlled and lead. Guevara is portrayed as an iconic revolutionary character ...more
Kirk Bower
Jul 29, 2011 Kirk Bower rated it it was amazing
Castaneda does a great job in research and writing. The book allows the reader to try to connect with the times and establish their own views. Politics aside; Che is an interesting and unusual character
Mar 14, 2011 Broadsnark rated it liked it
Reading about Che is a lot more interesting than reading what he actually said. This is a good book. I don't always agree with Castaneda's analysis, but it is well researched and generally fair.
Mar 22, 2009 Monica rated it really liked it
A good attempt at trying to present a very human portrait of Che using access to letters and people most other authors haven't had. But it's also a very sympathetic view.
Dean MacAllister
May 11, 2013 Dean MacAllister rated it liked it
Very dry, but very informative. A story of someone who had a strong idealism, but was only good at starting revolutions, never seeing anything through to completion.
May 15, 2013 Rubi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"I don't care if I fall as long as someone else picks up my gun and keeps on shooting."

V interesting Book ..
Jul 22, 2009 Megan rated it really liked it
Shelves: summer-reads
A serious in-depth view of Che's life events. The footnotes are endless. Great research done on the author's part.
May 08, 2011 Chris rated it liked it
A little heavy and a little difficult to read. Brilliantly researched all the same.
Mark Shafranski
Aug 11, 2014 Mark Shafranski rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

by Jorge G. Casteneda

Just finished reading Comanero. This is a biography of Ernesto (Che) Guevara. I was inspired to read a bio of Che after watching the musical Evita earlier this year where he serves as the foil. It dawned on me that I only had the vaguest memories of someone who became a revolutionary hero and died a few months before my fourteenth birthday, so I decided to educate myself.

The book was written in Spanish and translated to English which may account for some of its ro
Jun 03, 2015 Iwan rated it liked it
Seperti tokoh-tokoh pahlawan dunia lainnya, ada dua hal yang menarik yang mereka lakukan yaitu membaca dan menulis. Che Guevara sudah membaca buku-buku klasik termasuk sosialis-komunisme sejak kecil. Dia selalu menulis tentang apa yang dilakukan selama perjalanan hidupnya. Catatan selama berkelana dikembangkan dengan judul The Motorcycle Diaries. Terlepas dari hidupnya yang kontroversial, bagi saya hal yang menarik adalah membaca dan menulis.
Oct 26, 2007 Neil rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book to be very interesting. I haven't yet read any of the numerous other books about Che Guevara, but I can't imagine this one wouldn't be a good place to start for someone interested in learning about the man. Che comes across as someone fervently dedicated to his cause, but perhaps flawed in his overly idealistic pursuit of that cause. Castaneda does a good job of suggesting Che has become bigger in death than life, in what he's come to symbolize and how he's been marketed.
Jamie Larmour-reid
A thorough and well-balanced account of the life, triumphs, failures and death of one of the 20th century's cultural icons.
Megan Stewart
Feb 10, 2016 Megan Stewart rated it it was ok
Good book to read for a brief overview of several of the latin american revolutions. Che managed to be present and involved in a few at a time when so many were happening. Slow read in some parts and better in others. Overall not bad but not that interesting to me.
Nov 10, 2008 Jorge rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Interesante y completa, por momentos soporífera, biografía de Ernesto Che Guevara, por el mexicano Jorge Castañeda. El libro tiene muchos datos al detalle, por lo que se me hizo pesado, especialmente al momento de repasar medidas económicas cuando el Che fue ministro de producción y presidente del Banco Central de Cuba. Tardé 5 años en leerlo, mezclado con otras lecturas. Si lo recomiendo.
While I do not agree with the deification of Che Guevara, neither do I accept the negation of his efforts that runs through this book. To paint him as a flawed man with grandiose ideas is one thing; to portray him as nothing more than a spoiled child with delusions of grandeur throwing a temper tantrum is another.
Jun 07, 2012 Marilou rated it liked it

Wonderfully written by Castaneda ...I am always interested about che's life ,his view on communism and his friendship with Castro.So far I am truly enjoying this book.The Author is portraying che as a good person but as I go through the book, che executed people himself. ....more.....
Now that I finished the book, I fully understand che 's legacy and my respect to him has change. He was a very intelligent and interesting person.

Jun 27, 2007 Ashmou rated it it was ok
Che's story is interesting and poweful. That is the only reason, I gave this book 3 stars. I didn't like the way the author wrote the story. It was very unorganized. I am going to read "Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life"; that is quite popular. Maybe I will like that one more.
Sep 19, 2007 Lonnie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: communists
Long-winded, high brow apologetic which displays the author's admiration of his subject. He describes Che as a puritan martyr who was let down by Fidel, Khrushchev and, ultimately, the Bolivian peasantry. It was the first book I read on Che and I kept thinking the author was sugar-coating and romanticizing Che. It's a good book to read if one wants to justify their Che t-shirt.
Jun 27, 2007 Matt is currently reading it
Ridiculously detailed biography of Che Guevara. Castaneda is the premier Che author, no other biography should be taken as seriously as his. Incredibly interesting so far.
Jun 09, 2011 David rated it it was amazing

A magnificent book. Castaneda manages to be quite critical of Che Guevara's politics while being sympathetic. I feel I understand Guevara now. If you are interested in Guevara, Cuba, Latin America, third world revolutions and Cuba's relations with the U.S. and the Soviet Union, you will like this.
Rob Litvin
May 19, 2013 Rob Litvin rated it really liked it
detailed from facts gathered from a lot of resources. I felt like the author tried to capture the ideals of Che in a positive light. probably to explain the fascination of the cult like following from people who believe he stands for pure revolution for the good of all people.
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From Wikipedia:

Jorge Castañeda Gutman (born May 24, 1953) is a Mexican politician and academic who served as Secretary of Foreign Affairs (2000–2003).
Castañeda was born in Mexico City. He received the French Baccalauréat from the Lycée Franco-Mexicain in Mexico City. Then after receiving his B.A. from Princeton University and a Ph.D. in Economic History from the University of Paris (Panthéon-La So
More about Jorge G. Castañeda...

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