The Motorcycle Diaries: Notes on a Latin American Journey

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Biography Currently Reading History Latin America Memoir Non Fiction Nonfiction Politics To Read Travel

About this book

The book of the popular movieSTARRING GAEL GARCIA BERNALNOW A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER The young Che Guevara’s lively and highly entertaining travel diary.This new, expanded edition features exclusive, unpublished photos taken by the 23-year-old Ernesto on his journey across a continent, and a tender preface by Aleida Guevara, offering an insightful perspective on the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. “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 “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.” Also available in Spanish: DIARIOS DE MOTOCICLETA (978-1-920888-11-4) Features of this edition include:A preface by Che Guevara’s daughter AleidaIntroduction by Cintio Vintier, well-known Latin American poetPhotos & maps from the original journeyPostcript: Che’s personal reflections on his formative years: “A child of my environment.”  Published in association with the Che Guevara Studies Center, Havana

Reader's Thoughts

Reyhan

Che is one of the figure I admire for his courage and idealism. And this is his diary which he wrote when he and his friend was having a journey crossing the South America from south to north by riding a motorcycle (well, at the beginning actually. Most half till the end they traveled by foot, hitch hiking, and rafting through the Amazonian river).OK, probably because this is a diary it doesn't contain a literacy magnitude that you could appreciate, but you could admire its "essence" of the journey itself. By reading this book we would know how great their journey was by meeting many people and coupling with many interesting events that touched the conscience of young Che himself.And after the Motorcycle Diaries journey, Che was never the same Che again.

محمد على عطية

هذا الكتاب يسرد وقائع رحلة قام بها ارنستو (تشى) جيفارا مع صديقه ألبرتو جرينادو على ظهر دراجة نارية عبر أمريكا اللاتينية بدءاً من مدينتهما -قرطبة- بالأرجنتين و ذلك فى عام 1951/1952, و كان عمره وقتها 24 سنة و لا يزال فى السنة النهائية فى كلية الطب.من خلال السرد نرى بعينى جيفارا صورة لأمريكا اللاتينية فى هذا العصر, و إذا اعتبرنا أن هذا الكتاب من أدب الرحلات فبذلك سنبخسه حقه....فبأمكان أى منا أن يزور نفس الأماكن و نخرج بوصف قريب لها..أما البشر, فيعتمد هذا على إحساسك بهم....و لابد أنك ستتخيل ما هى نظرة جيفارا للكثير من المرضى و الفقراء و المقهورين الذين قابلهم فى عدة دول بأمريكا اللاتينية.عندما تجد أن الرجل قد كتب ما كتب و هو فى الرابعة و العشرين من عمره ستعلم أن الرجل كان متسقاً مع نفسه...إنه نفس المناضل الذى عرفناه بعد هذا التاريخ ب10 سنين كأحد أبرز قادة الثورة الكوبية..و أحد المناضلين ضد الإمبريالية فى العالم الثالث و خصوصاً أمريكا اللاتينية بطبيعة الحال.و إهتمامه الإنسانى المبكر بالعمال و طبقة البروليتاريا الكادحة , و كذلك تعامله مع مرضى الجذام بالصورة التى وصفها فى الكتاب يؤكد لنا مدى إتساقه مع نفسه كما ذكرنا.بحكم السن تبدو شقاوة الشباب واضحة فى سطور الكتاب و طريقة الوصف و المغامرات..لكن مع هذا تبدو ثقافة جيفارا....و لكم أعجبتنى بعض التعبيرات التى استخدمها - و كانت جديدة على - مثل قوله (أكلنا السمكة متبلة ببهارات جوعنا)..و هو مثل المثل القائل (الجوع أحسن طباخ) لأنك فى حال جوعك سيكون همك هو أن تملأ بطنك و يأتى الطعم فى مرحلة متأخرة من الأولويات..و انت مو انت و انت جعان :)))استوقفنى فى بداية عرضه للكتاب قوله:(أن الرجل الذى كتب هذه اليوميات توفى لحظة لمست قدماه تراب الأرجنتين...لأن السفر و ما رآه فى (أمريكتنا)قد غيرنى أكثر مما حسبت) .و كذلك استوقفنى الحوار فى نهاية الكتاب مع الرجل الذى قابله فى فنزويلا و كأنه يتنبأ له بدوره المرسوم فى النضال.و أتشوق لقراءة ما كتبه عن يوميات الثورة...إذا وجدته

Dhruv Goel

Very exalted after watching "The Motorcycle Diaries", I decided to buy the book and read it. For me Che Guevara was an inspirational figure, since, I watched a documentary on him when I was a child. Obviously I am entranced by the book but I will write this review as honestly as possible.It is like a travelogue which is a little vague on the places and a little study of the map of South America would greatly help in admiring the beauty described in the book. But as you will read you will observe that the narrator is drifting, here and there, towards the plight of indigenous people and also providing historical details of place. Sure the marks of future revolutionary can be clearly seen. While you are reading try to live their experiences, imagine them happening to you, dream that you are on a similar adventure, if you live in a post-colonial country then try to understand your people's past, then ask the question - Will you try such a travel again? Compare your answer with future endeavors of Che and you will understand my rating, as you may understand my answer.I am confident that you cannot finish this book without admiring the beautiful phrases in which he share his visions, knowing the future of the writer greatly helps in understanding those lines which, rather subliminal at first, fill you with wonder.

Charlie

The more travel-themed books I read the more I realise that I'm not that into travel-themed books. This one was sort of different, since it was the actual diary of a well-known revolutionary before he was all that interested in revolution. He was a really good writer, but there were still things I didn't enjoy about the book, like all the references to weight, food, and sexual violence (the latter was only brought up twice, but it was mentioned insensitively and with the use of trigger words). I did think the letters to his mother were sweet, though, and I enjoyed the parts that showed off Alberto's sense of humour.

Mahendra

His account begins: This is not a story of heroic feats, or merely the narrative of a cynic; at least I do not mean it to be. It is a glimpse of two lives running parallel for a time, with similar hopes and convergent dreams. In nine months of a man’s life he can think a lot of things, from the loftiest meditations on philosophy to the most desperate longing for a bowl of soup — in total accord with the state of his stomach. And if, at the same time, he’s somewhat of an adventurer, he might live through episodes of interest to other people and his haphazard record might read something like these notes.And so, the coin was thrown in the air, turning many times, landing sometimes heads and other times tails. Man, the measure of all things, speaks here through my mouth and narrates in my own language that which my eyes have seen. It is likely that out of 10 possible heads I have seen only one true tail, or vice versa. In fact it’s probable, and there are no excuses, for these lips can only describe what these eyes actually see. Is it that our whole vision was never quite complete, that it was too transient or not always well-informed? Were we too uncompromising in our judgments? Okay, but this is how the typewriter interpreted those fleeting impulses raising my fingers to the keys, and those impulses have now died. Moreover, no one can be held responsible for them. The person who wrote these notes passed away the moment his feet touched Argentine soil again. The person who reorganizes and polishes them, me, is no longer, at least I am not the person I once was. All this wandering around “Our America with a capital A” has changed me more than I thought.In any photographic manual you’ll come across the strikingly clear image of a landscape, apparently taken by night, in the light of a full moon. The secret behind this magical vision of “darkness at noon” is usually revealed in the accompanying text. Readers of this book will not be well versed about the sensitivity of my retina — I can hardly sense it myself. So they will not be able to check what is said against a photographic plate to discover at precisely what time each of my “pictures” was taken. What this means is that if I present you with an image and say, for instance, that it was taken at night, you can either believe me, or not; it matters little to me, since if you don’t happen to know the scene I’ve “photographed” in my notes, it will be hard for you to find an alternative to the truth I’m about to tell. But I’ll leave you now, with myself, the man I used to be… And it ends: I saw his teeth and the cheeky grin with which he foretold history, I felt his handshake and, like a distant murmur, his formal goodbye. The night, folding in at contact with his words, overtook me again, enveloping me within it. But despite his words, I know knew...I knew that when the great guiding spirit cleaves humanity into two antagonistic halves, I would be with the people. I know this, I see it printed in the night sky that I, eclectic dissembler of doctrine and psychoanalyst of dogma, howling like one possessed, will assault the barricades or the trenches, will take my bloodstained weapon and, consumed with fury, slaughter any enemy who falls into my hand. And I see, as if a great exhaustion smothers this fresh exaltation, I see myself, immolated in the genuine revolution, the great equalizer of individual will, proclaiming the ultimate mea culpa. I feel my nostrils dilate, savoring the acrid smell of gunpowder and blood, the enemy's death; I steel my body, ready to do battle, and prepare myself to be a sacred space within which the bestial howl of the triumphant proletariat can resound with new energy and new hope.This is a diary of perhaps the greatest journey that any individual has ever made. Coming from a well to do family and taking time off from studying medicine, young Ernesto and friend Alberto travels across Latin America and witnesses the human condition and the suffering it faces. He is very much affected and it is this experience that shapes his future political ideology and what fuels his revolutionary spirit. He vividly paints Latin America as it is, exploited and downtrodden. Ernesto leaves Argentina an unconscious and idealistic boy and returns a cynical and wiser man. One can see here the metamorphosis of a young Argentine to the world's greatest revolutionary. Patria O Muerte! Hasta La Victoria, Siempre!

trina

i loved this insight into the man before the myth. his writing is evocative, so you feel you are right there with him on the road, hungry, dirty, exhilirated, and seeing the world as it truly is for the first time. i can't imagine a person (who has a heart) journeying through latin america even today, especially from a doctor's point of view, and not concluding the same thing as che: things have to change. individual efforts here and there mean nothing in the face of such widespread poverty and injustice. really though, the book doesn't bludgeon you over the head with politics or ideology. he was just a kid, after all. mostly it's a very good adventure story.

Riku Sayuj

These Diary notes provide us with an ernest and fetching account of a young Che, a middle-class kid, not yet embarked on the violent and heroic road that stretched past these early trails. Not particularly educational or insightful, but yet strangely moving. The carefree bikers turn into compassionate observers of humanity along the course of this journey, thus fulfilling the purpose of the journey, at least in retrospect. The passion and the compassion shines through the entire text and a youthful hope enlivens it, and that is part of its lasting appeal. As the following passage makes clear, how much of this book is observation and how much is later interpretation is hard to judge. All we can be sure is that this is how Che saw the journey as he looked back on it. In nine months of a man’s life he can think a lot of things, from the loftiest meditations on philosophy to the most desperate longing for a bowl of soup — in total accord with the state of his stomach. And if, at the same time, he’s somewhat of an adventurer, he might live through episodes of interest to other people and his haphazard record might read something like these notes.And so, the coin was thrown in the air, turning many times, landing sometimes heads and other times tails. Man, the measure of all things, speaks here through my mouth and narrates in my own language that which my eyes have seen. It is likely that out of 10 possible heads I have seen only one true tail, or vice versa. In fact it’s probable, and there are no excuses, for these lips can only describe what these eyes actually see. Is it that our whole vision was never quite complete, that it was too transient or not always well-informed? Were we too uncompromising in our judgments? Okay, but this is how the typewriter interpreted those fleeting impulses raising my fingers to the keys, and those impulses have now died. Moreover, no one can be held responsible for them.The person who wrote these notes passed away the moment his feet touched Argentine soil again. The person who reorganizes and polishes them, me, is no longer, at least I am not the person I once was. All this wandering around “Our America with a capital A” has changed me more than I thought. As the book slowly moves from casual observation, to detailed description, to heart-felt indictments and finally to loud declamations of a future that has to be wrought at any cost, the reader might find it difficult to follow the spiritual evolution of a middle-class kid that is compressed into this narrative - unfortunately, for modern middle-class readers, that is precisely what is expected of Che. Also, the structure of this progression was a little too neat for my liking, but with Che the myth is everything and is an essential component of enjoying these Diaries. Embrace it.

Aby John Mathew

The book accounts the trip, Che Guvera had across south america with his friend alberto. What makes this book different is the straight froward material coming from a medical student who is totally unprofessional in writing. Its a diary so its read like a diary - something straight from someone who witness the darkness for this first time. It was really cool to get into the young Che's head and see how, why, and when he began to change into the revolutionary icon so many of us know him as today. Above all, this book explored the human side of Che which got overshadowed by his revolutionary life and was well supressed by the historians. It would be great if you read this book after learning something about cheguvera and his activites in Cuba to experience the impact and enjoy the charm of the work. Rating:4/5

Benny Livingston

This book gives you a very nice first hand (though somewhat biased) view of the state of Latin America during the cold war and the other countries interferences into it. Following young Ernesto and his good friend Alberto as they go on a motorcycle journey through Central and South America, seeing first hand the problems the people people of these places face and the unfairness they are subjected to. Written as a diary this novel gives you feel for Ernesto as it shows his feelings and his thoughts, allowing for the reader to truly see how Ernesto grows and matures over the course of the book. This book really gets you thinking and is very hard to put down, its one of the best I've ever read, and i cannot recommend this book enough to people who enjoy history, or politics. 5/5 Must read

Owen

Contrary to popular belief (and the movie) this isn't a particularly political book - but rather a humorous travelogue about a couple of middle-class medical students trying to travel as cheaply as possible, morality be damned, with the odd political point thrown in. Inotherwords not too different from the travels many people I knew in college took, many through lands savaged by the misguided economic and social policies he came to advocate. I'm sure many of them no doubt picked up Che shirts en route. That's an irony that young Ernesto the traveler might have appreciated but that Che the ideologue and global revolutionary wouldn't have.

Joshin John

Honestly, I didn't like the literature much. But Che's rendering of first-hand experiences with poverty, disease and lives of the Latin American people wouldn't fail to touch you.

Nikhil

This is a book which everybody in their 20s need to read. At a time when everyone is trying to settle down into a career which would reap harvests eventually, where you dream of going on your dream trips eventually, where you would want to read that book or draw the painting or write the poem, eventually; we have a book about a 20 something who does it all. The story of Che before he became The Che, when he still is a rash youngster hot blooded and filled with hunger for adventure. In spite of which, he displays a caring philosophical mind of a legend in making. Filled with good servings of humour, in this travelogue, you take the place of Alberto Granado and travel across South America with Che. There are so many lines which will remain etched in one's memory forever, like his description of the terminally ill lady. Read this book, if you dream of travelling, if you had dreams of travelling. May bea towards the end of it you just might want to live the life Che Guevara did.

Esraa Muhammed

من امتع الكتب اللى قريتها ل ارنستو بل واقوها لانه كان زينا مجرد طالب ف السنه النهائيه للكليه مكنش وقتها الثائر البطولى اللى بننظر ليه بعين الاعجاب وخلاص من خلال رحلته شوفت كم التحول والتبلور ل ارنستو ودى كانت البدايه الحقيقه والمعايشه للواقع عن قرب..اعتقد كل زميل بكليه الطب لازم يقراها عشان يتعلم بس شغف المعرفه والبحث والانطلاق ..رحله حول قاااااااااااااااره بمتوسيكل ياله من جنون ويالها من رحله سوف تغير واقع امركيا اللاتنيه فيما بعد

yamami

الرحلات/الأسفار تمنحنا ، تُعلمنا الكثير .. تُرينا الصورة من كل الزوايا .. تُعيد فلسفة الحياة في قلوبنا .. أؤمن أن الإنسان يتغير وتتوسع معارفة بعد كل رحلة سفر يقوم بها ، فكيف إذا كانت الرحلة لـ عام كامل وبرفقة صديق على دراجة نارية؟الكتاب ممتع ، وتفاصيل الرحلة غاية في البساطة والجمال أجمل ما في الكتاب إحساس الحرية العميق ..؛ أغبط من يَملك روحاً توّاقة للإرتحال مع القدرة على ذلك

JJ Lehmann

I have done research in the pan-Mayan movements within contemporary Guatemala. In addition to this, I help construct a undergraduate class about Indigenous religions of the Americas. I also took a class on the politics of the Carri bean. Part of all of this included studying revolutionary movements. So, I was already pretty familiar with el Che. Of course, I have seen the film based on this book as well. I believe it is a little unfair to judge this book as if he were a professional writer. This book was presented as a diary and never made illusions to be something else. He does state that he tried to polish some things up, but not dramatically. What we get is a snapshot of Latin America at this time as seen through the eyes of a Doctor in training, not a revolutionary in training. Though, of course, this experience profoundly affects him and can clearly be seen as a ingredient in his future philosophy and passion.I have seen other reviews that elude to Mr. Guevara and his future. Some have spoken of finding this part of him appealing, but in opposition to the 'monster' he becomes. I believe this evaluation of el Che is shortsighted and likely comes from one judging his life by what Mr. Castro later molded Cuba into. It is important to realize that Che left Cuba in 1965, nine years after the revolution. During the Cuban Revolution, he was observed giving aid, helping, and saving the life of soldiers he was fighting against. This is not a psychopathic killer. This is a man whom was moved by the inequalities he saw and was driven to try to correct these. How is this different from any soldier who fights for their beliefs. He was certainly not a terrorist. If he was, what was Mr. Washington? You may not agree with his politics or philosophy, but this doesn't negate his actions. I am not implying that I fully agree with what Che did, but I am attempting to show another side of him.

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