Radikal Readings: The Motorcycle Diaries: Notes on a Latin American Journey

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Ernesto “Che” Guevara the man is hard to separate from the revolutionary icon he became. Yet The Motorcycle Diaries attempts to do that as the man himself writes notes from the journey through Latin America that forever changed his life. This journey was well before he became Che Guevara, and chronicles what started out as an adventurous trek with his friend Alberto Granado, and turns into an awakening for the compassionate observers of humanity.

After watching a number of documentaries on the Cuban Revolution and Che himself, I wanted to read in his own writing a bit more into his personal life and this life-altering journey. It actually isn’t that insightful if you are looking for a full account of his personal life, yet it is a moving account of Latin America at the time. From his detailed account of Machu Pichu to the visit to the leprosy camp, the travelogue is a perfect read for a would-be or aspiring adventurer.

No matter your thoughts on his revolutionary tactics and his politics, it is hard to deny that Che was absolutely brilliant. The writing is quite eloquent and the events and journeys he describes are punctuated with wit, humor, and style. It is fascinating to get a glimpse into the mind of such a larger than life icon and discover the change that caused him to become the revolutionary icon that he is remembered as today.

The Motorcycle Diaries allows you to take Alberto Granado’s place for a moment and live those adventures with Che. It makes you long to get out on the open road just as Che and Alberto did all those years ago and gives you insights to his philosophies. A great read.

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