I recently finished reading two excellent biographies, "Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life" by Jon Lee Anderson, and "Mao: The Unknown Story" by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday. These books examine the lives of two of the most important figures of the 20th century and offer an unflinching look at their upbringing, rise to power, impact on the world and ongoing influence on the nations of Cuba and China. Regardless of your opinion of these individuals, both books offer a compelling read.
Guevara comes across as the more accessible character. The profane, cigar smoking, asthmatic, alternately lazy and tireless doctor turned revolutionary with a passion for the ladies is a fascinating character. Mao elicits very little sympathy as an asexual opportunist quite willing to throw his comrades under the bus for political gain. Guevara seems genuinely concerned about his fellow guerrillas and the peasants they encounter versus Mao who sells out his own troops by feeding intelligence to the enemy when it benefits his cause and starves millions during his consolidation of power (I have to add a caveat that one of the authors of the Mao biography writes from a Nationalist Chinese perspective so their is some inevitable bias in the work.)
I highly recommend both books.
- ▼ 05/08 - 05/15 (6)
- ► 2010 (86)
- ► 2009 (52)