Matt's Reviews > Simón Bolívar: A Life

Simón Bolívar by John Lynch
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's review
Oct 30, 10

bookshelves: biography
Read from October 17 to 30, 2010

Like many North Americans, I knew nothing of Bolivar other than Hugo Chavez likes to invoke the Liberator's memory to give him cover. Long story short, he liberated modern-day Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia from Spanish rule between 1810-1826. He spent 1826-1830 trying to govern, and got run out of each, accused of being a tyrant. He died weeks/months later of TB at the age of 47, unsure that it was all worth it. Bolivar was a fascinating character who was a revolutionary as far as Spain was concerned, but a reformist in South American affairs. Based on Lynch's assessment, I don't think the Liberator would approve of Chavez's populism or antagonism toward economic liberty - neither was part of his revolution. Waging a so-called revolution against fellow Americans was antithetical to Bolivar's movement. Finally, General Sucre, Bolivar's most trusted general, emerged as an incredibly admirable historical figure, and I was genuinely sad to learn of his murder 180 years ago.
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