Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Fall of Che Guevara, by Henry Butterfield Ryan

This audiobook was 7 hours and 19 minutes long, and was narrated by George McGonagle.

Before I got this audiobook, I knew almost nothing about Che Guevara, although I could pick his image out of a lineup thanks to the iconic image that has appeared on a million or so T-shirts. So, this book was a voyage of discovery for me.

The author tells Che's story as a reporter would gie you the background on the subject, but then just get straight to the facts. He uses a lot of documents from the CIA and other government sources, going as far as to get them declassified himself. What emerges is the recounting of a frustrated revolutionary who was pushing the envelope on revolutionary theory to a point that it got him killed.

Che blundered when he thought he could get a revolution started in Bolivia by inserting a little over 50 commandos out in the jungles to stir up the peasants. The peasants were not particularly unhappy with their government, being far removed from it, and did not like the armed iealists who came to stir them up. They ended up ratting him out to the government forces who were looking for him.

To Che's admirers, this is a controversial subject. Some think Castro had him killed. Some think the CIA did him in. The evidence in this book has enough holes to leave your prejudices intact, but it all seems like a bad judgment call to me. I give it four stars for being informative, clear, and not taking unnecessary time.

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