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Thirty years ago, in the wilds of southeastern Bolivia, the life of Ernesto Guevara de la Serna came to a sudden, inglorious end - and an unquenchable myth was born. To this day, the mere mention of "Che" summons up a mental picture of the bearded revolutionary leader who was deeply and directly involved in the upheavals in Latin America and Africa during the 1950s and '60s. From his inclusion of such unique material as Che's teenage love letters to his detailed review of archives in the former Soviet Union and elsewhere, Castaneda provides the most balanced and thorough account of Che's personal and political endeavors - neither a whitewash nor an excoriation, but biography at its best. He places each stage of Che's career in its social, cultural, and political context, and he tackles thorny questions that are crucial to understanding the entire Socialist venture: Did the Soviets help or betray Che in the Congo and Bolivia? Did Fidel Castro wish him well or hope for his demise? And, perhaps most compelling of all, how did a blue-blooded, asthmatic doctor from Argentina transcend ideology and politics to become the icon known as Che?

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