Book Review: Che Guevara

Another non-fiction book so soon? Yes, and a second biography too. This isn’t like me at all but I felt like I had to read it because it was sitting on my shelf and I couldn’t account for it. I didn’t think it was my book and P didn’t think it was his. I don’t know how it got there or how long it had been there but there it was, unavoidable. I know it sounds strange but this does seem to happen from time to time with books and DVDs. I suspect P just forgets that he’s acquired things.

Che Guevara by Andrew Sinclair. A Pocket Biography

Anyway, Che Guevara had come up in a recent pub quiz and I discovered that I hadn’t known he had tried to bring guerilla warfare to the Congo. I’m no Che buff but I have seen Che I and Che II so I was surprised that this information either hadn’t been covered or that I had forgotten it. That kind of spurred me on to open this book.

It’s part of the pocket biographies series published by The History Press. It comes in at only 128 pages, including a references section and it was quite a quick read. Unfortunately, its briefness is probably the only reason I stuck with it. Perhaps it’s not fair, given that Andrew Sinclair, the author only had ~110 pages in which to cover Che’s whole life, but it was a really simplistic book.

Sinclair is very clearly a Che fan. There are a few attempts within the book to be objective and to offer a balanced point of view but mostly it’s a very kind biography. I suspect Che would have been more critical of himself than Sinclair was. Again, perhaps it’s difficult to provide a nuanced viewpoint in so few pages, but I’m not convinced that any attempt was made.

I’d recommend this to readers under 14 who have never heard of Che Guevara, or to people who want a very quick overview and recommendations for further reading. I’m not sure I’d give it to anyone else. On the bright side, though, Sinclair did quickly cover Che’s campaign in the Congo, so at least I’m now slightly more enlightened in that respect.


By the way, I signed up for a non-fiction book challenge this year. This is the third one I’ve read. You can find out more by clicking the link in the sidebar.

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