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Granado, Alberto. Traveling with Che Guevara; the making of a revolutionary.

GRANADO, Alberto. Traveling with Che Guevara; the making of a revolutionary. Tr. by Lucia Alvarex de Toledo. Newmarket Press. 215p. illus. map. c2004. 1-55704-639-5. $14.95. SA

This unique book is a travel diary that chronicles a trip through South America in 1952 by Ernesto Guevara, later known as Che, and his best friend, Alberto Granado. Alberto tells the story of their exploration of the South American continent, made when he was a 29-year-old biochemist, and Che was a 23-year-old medical student. The young men leave from their home country of Argentina on an old motorbike, which they must abandon partway through their journey. After the bike is gone, they must walk, hitchhike, beg for rides from acquaintances and strangers, and use a variety of forms of transport to complete their journey in Venezuela. They encounter every extreme during their trip, from easy journeying to finding themselves in danger, and they meet many kinds of people in many different circumstances.

Through the eyes of these young men who love their continent, the reader experiences the contrasts of wonderful beauty and great vistas, along with horrible conditions that existed in South America in the early fifties. Though not a political polemic, the reader sees through Alberto's eyes the conditions and circumstances that later shaped the politics of both young men. The often-harsh opposites--the awesome beauty and the grinding poverty; the arrogant rich and the generous destitute people who shared and helped them--left their imprints on these two young men. The people they met unknowingly challenged them to try to make a difference to the dispossessed and poverty-stricken in their world. After this journey ends, each young man goes on to attempt this in his own way. Guevara's revolutionary activities eventually end in his death; Alberto goes on to make great contributions to medicine.

Guevara also kept a diary of this trip, The Motorcycle Diaries, which was published posthumously in 1952, and on which a recent movie was based. Alberto Granado served as an advisor to the movie project so that it remains true to the reality of the trip. This is the first time the book reviewed here, Traveling with Che Guevara, has been published in the US. This book is important for any student of Latin American history, the political history of Cuba, or the life of Che Guevara. Nancy Chrismer, Libn., Juniata H.S., Mifflintown, PA

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Author:Chrismer, Nancy
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Mar 1, 2005
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