Che's Travels: The Making of a Revolutionary in 1950s Latin by Paulo Drinot

By Paulo Drinot

Ernesto “Che” Guevara two times traveled throughout Latin the United States within the early Nineteen Fifties. in response to his money owed of these journeys (published in English as The bike Diaries and Back at the Road), in addition to different ancient assets, Che’s Travels follows Guevara, nation by means of state, from his local Argentina via Chile, Peru, Colombia, and Venezuela, after which from Argentina via Bolivia, Peru, Guatemala, and Mexico. every one essay is targeted on a unmarried nation and written by way of knowledgeable in its historical past. Taken jointly, the essays shed new gentle on Che’s early life by way of examining the distinct societies, histories, politics, and cultures he encountered on those journeys, the methods they affected him, and the methods he represented them in his travelogues. as well as delivering new insights into Guevara, the essays supply a clean standpoint on Latin America’s adventure of the chilly struggle and the interaction of nationalism and anti-imperialism within the the most important yet particularly understudied Fifties. Assessing Che’s legacies within the nations he visited in the course of the trips, the individuals research how he's remembered or memorialized; how he's invoked for political, cultural, and non secular reasons; and the way perceptions of him impact rules in regards to the revolutions and counterrevolutions fought in Latin the US from the Nineteen Sixties throughout the 1980s.

Contributors
Malcolm Deas
Paulo Drinot
Eduardo Elena
Judith Ewell
Cindy Forster
Patience A. Schell
Eric Zolov
Ann Zulawski

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On the other hand, Guevara remained an ambivalent anti-Peronist compared to his family and friends. Granado took part in student protests against the revolution of 1943, from which Perón began his rapid rise to prominence. Decades later, in his own travel memoirs, Granado would continue to describe the politics of this period as ‘‘our own local Nazism . . ’’≤∂ Guevara felt scant enthusiasm for the formal political opposition. He had long disdained Argentina’s traditional centrist party, the Radicals, and he viewed most leftist groups as ine√ectual and mistaken in allying themselves with conservatives in defying Perón.

This essay considers these historical subjects primarily through Guevara’s earliest travel writings. During the journeys of his youth in Argentina, Guevara formulated his travel method—as reflected in his choice of itinerary, modes of transportation, and contact with the physical landscape and its inhabitants. Method is perhaps too rigorous a term to describe these wanderings, but it serves the useful purpose of grouping together his habits and preferences as a traveler, all of which reveal much about postwar Argentina and Guevara’s place within it.

This type of historical analysis runs the danger of being reductive, that is, of explaining individual thought and action as the automatic outcome of structural pressures, political forces, and abstract social categories. To be sure, a measure of ‘‘sociologizing’’ may be welcome in this case, if only to counteract the inevitable mythologizing of El Che. But as we shall see, one of the distinguishing features of Guevara’s early travels was, in fact, their anticonformist character. His ambitious trek across South America, on a minimal budget and just shy of earning his medical degree, clearly bucked convention.

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