The book of the popular movie STARRING GAEL GARCIA BERNAL
NOW A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
The young Che Guevara’s lively and highly entertaining travel diary, now a popular movie and a New York Times bestseller. This new, expanded edition features exclusive, unpublished photos taken by the 23-year-old Ernesto on his journey across a continent, and a tender preface by Aleida Guevara, offering an insightful perspective on the man and the icon.
“A journey, a number of journeys. Ernesto Guevara in search of adventure, Ernesto Guevara in search of America, Ernesto Guevara in search of Che. On this journey of journeys, solitude found solidarity, ‘I’ turned into ‘we’.” —Eduardo Galeano
“When I read these notes for the first time, I was quite young myself and I immediately identified with this man who narrated his adventures in such a spontaneous manner… To tell you the truth, the more I read, the more I was in love with the boy my father had been…” —Aleida Guevara
“Our film is about a young man, Che, falling in love with a continent and finding his place in it.” —Walter Salles, director of “The Motorcycle Diaries.”
“As his journey progresses, Guevara’s voice seems to deepen, to darken, colored by what he witnesses in his travels. He is still poetic, but now he comments on what he sees, though still poetically, with a new awareness of the social and political ramifications of what’s going on around him.”—January Magazine
Also available in Spanish: DIARIOS DE MOTOCICLETA (978-1-920888-11-4)
Features of this edition include:
- A preface by Che Guevara’s daughter Aleida
- Introduction by Cintio Vintier, well-known Latin American poet
- Photos & maps from the original journey
- Postcript: Che’s personal reflections on his formative years: “A child of my environment.”
Published in association with the Che Guevara Studies Center, Havana
Che was more than just a face on a hippy’s T-shirt. He was more than just a revolutionary. This book is the recollection of a young man who was searching for adventure only to come upon horrible inequality which helped shaped his view as the man he would become in the future. Che was a brilliant and eloquent writer. I’ve been told by some of my Spanish speaking professors that the book is a bit lost in translation but I think not.You do not have to be a leftist or a history student to read this. This book is simply the journals of a traveling young man.
The Motorcycle Diaries
Before he was a revolutionary Ernesto Guevarra was a young man from a privileged back ground, and a medical student. He and a friend decided to travel, to see the world. Sounds very much like many if not most young men even today. He kept a diary of the adventures, escapades, and mishaps along the way. He saw a world that was new and disturbing in some places to him. Through that trip he would become the eloquent speaker, military planner, doctor, and a crusader for the downtrodden. He became Che Guevarra. But that last part is for another volume. This book introduced me to the idealistic and maybe even naive young man that he was at that point in his life.
I really enjoyed the book as a diary of a guy going ...
I once biked across the country. In that vein, I really enjoyed the book as a diary of a guy going across the country on a motorcycle. Some of the commentary on oppression, particularly in Peru, led me to think about differently about South America and world geopolitics. I don't know much about Che Guevara, and the book didn't really provide much more on that topic, regardless. I do appreciate the fact that he didn't change his original motorcycle diaries after the fact in order to stay true to the original text and adventure.
Even if you are totally against left-wing politics and despise ...
Even if you are totally against left-wing politics and despise Che as a communist revolutionary, this book is worth reading just for witnessing his journey across Latin America (which is extremely complex culturally and politically) and transformation from a carefree medical student to a passionate political activist.
I loved this book for many reasons, and strongly recommend it. It attracted me because I have just traveled to Cuba, and had been to many of the other countries and places listed in this book. The idea of a man getting up one day with a close friend and spontaneously deciding to set off on a continental motorcycle tour was also appealing because of the adventure and travel aspects. This book exceeded all the expectations I had for it. Che Guevara’s writing style is unlike anything i had read before. The artful, beautiful way he describes everything from landscapes to his patients makes the reader feel like they are living the experiences he is, sometimes in a deeper way than the reader may have experienced themselves. Che dives into each topic or picture he sees with great emotion and personal opinion while at the same time leaving some space for the readers opinions and ideas to take form. You get the historical sense of what is being observed, with facts provided (the architechture and stories behind the churches in Lima and Cuzco) while at the same time getting Che's somewhat romanticized take on it. There is a great amount of action- (for example the dog scene, the boat scene, and motorcycle breakdowns), contrasted with the demonstration of the social problems of Latin America (racism, poverty, indecent health care). It is fascinating to see Che develop as a social being, and to see how he transforms from a freshly graduated medical student to an iconic revolutionary, while also seeing the primary discussions evolve from strictly landscapes to issues and people stories much like HONY. I read this book for an english class assignment, and have already found myself recommending it to others multiple times. I think its interesting to have read if you are following USA/Cuba relations right now.
The motorcycle does not make the whole journey. It was an OK read until the motorcycle died. I stopped reading at that point. He is kind of an arrogant kid, but interesting. He was mostly a pillion, so this is not told from the rider/owner's point of view. For me, that would have been more interesting.
This book was very entertaining and there is much to learn from these 2 young souls who ventured on such a dangerous journey. I just started riding motorcycles 1 year ago and this was a recommendation from a co-worker. I admire the bravery that these men had and their enthusiasm to travel their continent. However, I wish he would not have gotten so much into the political side of things and that he would have focused more on the humanitarian side. He does show his growing interest in military strategy. Overall, I would read this again in the future.
My take on Motorcycle Diaries
This book is gripping. I felt like I was on a journey myself and those are my favorite kind of reads. If you aspire to travel and want an introduction to the person the world calls Che read the book.
this would have been a great adventure of a lifetime
The blurb on the back of the version I read states "His trip might have been the adventure of a lifetime - had his lifetime not turned into a much greater adventure," and it is true, this would have been a great adventure of a lifetime. I found myself at times laughing, moaning in sympathy and cheering. It is easy to see the beginning of the revolutionary. Four stars.However, I have a few minor complaints about the book- or at least the version I read. One would be the number of Preface's, chronologies, maps and introductions at the start of the book. One introduction alone takes up fifteen pages, and reads more like an academic paper a History student at University might write. <-- This leads me to my second complaint. This mini academic paper would have been better placed at the end of the book, as it uses several quotes and examples from the diaries themselves which make no sense unless you have read the diaries themselves, ergo, why is it at the beginning where these quotes and examples would make no sense?Otherwise, a great read and well worth the money spent.
“Nearing 30, Alberto is seeing the Atlantic for the first time and is overwhelmed…..” [Che, at his uncles house in Villa Gesell]
This is a book in many parts, it’s more a revised blog than a diary as it doesn’t itemise the days, rather it covers short periods of travel as Che tried to turn it into more of a narrative a year later before setting off on another 2 year trek. It spans from December 1951 to August 1952 as Che and his older friend Alberto travel Latin America on a temperamental 1939 Norton 500cc motorbike.At 165 pages [plus 24 pages of black & white pictures] this is generally an easy read but using a good map adds a lot to the understanding. The ‘diary’ actually starts on page 31, the earlier pages being introductions and contents information. Much of the route is easy to follow but a lot has changed over the years. However, it is still possible to make out the bulk of their route despite some translation errors and Argentinian spellings of place names. Bluffing their way along [before the Pan American Highway was completed] the pair manage to stay in varying places from railway stations [some now ruins and the population gone], army barracks, police stations, fire stations, numerous hospitals, even staying with family friends and acquaintances that they meet along the way to camping rough at lakesides [which are now almost all campsites].Well worth getting a copy if you’re remotely interested in ‘Che’ or Latin America in the 1950s but not really a travel guide in itself nor does it show him becoming a radical as the publicity suggests [he was already radicalised before the journey, Alberto even more so] and the political commentaries present are clearly written much later as the writing style is totally different. It does however show a professional [Che qualified as a Dr the following year] 23 year old who’s in conflict with his past and uncertain about his future in a continent undergoing rapid change. The second half [as they leave Chile and have to hitch-hike] becomes more critical and condemning of society and its clearly been heavily ‘tweaked’ but its still possible to see the growing tensions between the two companions as the journey wears on. Che’ revolutionary halo definitely slips in this.
A journey we would all love to take
The mythology attached to this book is incredible. One has to detach what one knows of Guevara's later life and examine the text as written by a young man on the cusp of great things, but still evolving a world-view. Indeed, anyone looking for politics and revelation should look elsewhere, as there are few passages devoted to that element, aside from the final chapter, which is powerfully eloquent.The Diaries are full of the misery of a hand-to-hand existence, where the daily struggle to find or talk their way into a meal is paramount. The logistical puzzle of how to get from A to B is also never far from the surface. These passages, where the beauty of the landscape is drawn, are some of the more memorable passages. So too the descriptions of villages, towns and ancient cities that the two friends encounter, especially in Peru.Guevara is a fine writer, selecting expressions that assist us to see what he saw, to feel the poverty and guess at the squalor of existence that he saw on display along his journey. Clearly, this shaped Guevara's attitude. An important book, shorter than I had imagined, but well worth your time.
What would you say if you were here now Ernesto?
What would you say if you were here now Ernesto? That nothing has changed since you drove thousands of miles across humanity? You write these words, light, lyrical, clear, with insight about who we really are. And those monsters you fought are bigger than ever now. They run nations, corporations, they own billions, they corrupt, they consume, they suck everything out this earth. This brief diary of yours should be read by every child.
Fascinating people on a fascinating journey
The Motorcycle Diaries tells the story of a journey through South America undertaken by Che and his friend. Always hungry and penurious, Che explains how they relied on the hospitality and generosity of the people they met; his descriptions of the different customs, foods, accommodation and hospitality of the countries they passed through are fascinating. This is not a motorcycle journey book in the way that Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is - in fact the notoriously unreliable bike is abandoned quite early on - it's more of a social commentary and reflexive analysis concerning the ordinary people of South America. Some of the events described are poignant and some are hilarious - this book will make you both think and laugh. It also provides a fascinating insight into the thoughts of the young Che. This edition also includes a personal and naive introduction by Che's daughter. Altogether a thoroughly good read.