THE COMPLETE BOLIVIAN DIARIES OF CHE GUEVARA and Other Captured Documents by Daniel--Ed. James


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The publishing history is famous. After the Cubans released the diaries, Stein & Day bought the rights claimed by the Bolivian generals, and threatened to sue Ramparts, which had published the diaries in a summer issue with the consent of Che's widow. Many potential readers will have already bought the Ramparts (or the Bantam paperback) version. This edition includes the journals of three other guerrilla soldiers and a long introduction by Che's biographer. There is a detailed chronology of the campaign (the diaries are hard to assimilate without background) and a series of interpretations: James says there were too many foreigners in the group, and stresses their failure to win over the peasants; meanwhile, according to him, not only the Bolivian Communists but Castro himself refused vital aid, and Che underestimated the U.S.-trained counterinsurgents. In general, James argues, the Cuban model was overextended and a revolution cannot be made by a military foco without a mass party or people's army. The diaries themselves deal infrequently with strategic questions. They begin with the details of camp-building and recruit-training during the fall of 1966 and then move from the pedestrian to the excruciating. Illness, internal conflict, illusory victories, then starvation and illness. Finally Che contemplates escape but it's too late. The diary ends on October 7, 1967, the day before Che's capture. A long distance from the richness of his Cuban war memoirs; an ironic sequel to Guerrilla Warfare; a spare, grim document, one of the most important in our time.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1968
Publisher: Stein & Day