Che Guevara Criticism - Essay

Che Guevara with Laura Berguist (interview date 9 April 1963)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: An interview in Look, Vol. 27, No. 7, April 9, 1963, pp. 26-7.

[In the following excerpt, Berguist probes Guevara's views on Marxism, world politics, and social reform in Cuba.]

[Berguist]: Many early Castro supporters certainly didn't have today's Marxist-oriented revolution in mind. When you were fighting in the Sierra Maestra mountains, was this the future Cuba you envisioned?

[Guevera]: Yes, though I could not have predicted certain details of development.

Could you personally have worked with a government that was leftist but less "radical"—government that nationalized certain industries, but left areas open...

(The entire section is 977 words.)

Fidel Castro (speech date 18 October 1967)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Introduction: Che's Enduring Contributions to Revolutionary Thought," in Che Guevara and the Cuban Revolution: Writings and Speeches of Ernesto Che Guevara, edited by David Deutschmann, Pathfinder/Pacific and Asia, 1987, pp. 19-32.

[A leader of the Cuban Revolution and the current prime minister of Cuba, Castro considered Guevara an outstanding revolutionary leader and intellectual mentor. In the following essay, originally delivered as a speech at a memorial rally for Guevara in Havana's Plaza of the Revolution on October 18, 1967, Castro eulogizes Guevara's literary, military, and political achievements, noting "Che possessed the double characteristic of the man of ideas—of...

(The entire section is 4792 words.)

Emile Capouya (review date 12 April 1968)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Che Guevara—the Loss Looms Larger," in Commonweal, Vol. LXXXVIII, No. 4, April 12, 1968, pp. 110-11.

[Capouya is an American educator, editor, critic, and translator. In the following excerpt, he reviews Guevara's personal account of the Cuban revolution, focusing on Reminiscences of the Cuban Revolutionary War and Guerrilla Warfare.]

In order to arrive at a true estimate of men like Ernesto Guevara and his fellow-revolutionary, Fidel Castro, we should first of all have to wake up to the world in which we are living. In that world, there are two hundred million Latin Americans, most of whom are very hungry, and their hunger is a necessary feature of...

(The entire section is 1299 words.)

Norman Gall (review date 5 May 1968)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Guerrilla Saint," in The New York Times Book Review, May 5, 1968, pp. 3, 34-5.

[In the following review, Gall analyzes several works by Guevara, tracing the development of his ideological position as revealed in his political essays.]

The capture and murder last October in Bolivia of Ernesto "Che" Guevara was the most significant consequence of his own botched guerrilla insurgency. The story of his death—still subject to final refinement of detail—adds new mythic material to the reverence most Latin Americans feel for martyred guerrilla saints like Mexico's Emiliano Zapata. Nicaragua's Augusto Sandino and Colombia's rebel priest, Father Camilo Torres....

(The entire section is 1839 words.)

Raymond A. Sokolov (review date 13 May 1968)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Che Speaks," in Newsweek, Vol. LXXI, No. 20, May 13, 1968, p. 102.

[Sokolov is a critic, novelist, and author of recipe and cooking books. In the following review, Sokolov offers a mixed assessment of Venceremos!]

Even before his mysterious death last October, the Argentine revolutionary Ernesto Che Guevara had become the patron saint of the Third World and the guerrilla guru of the U.S. New Left. Raised in comfort, trained as a physician, he gave himself up totally to the revolutionary ideal. From early adolescence Guevara was an impassioned wanderer among his people; the underclass of feudal Latin America. He knew his continent and carried its sorrows with...

(The entire section is 690 words.)

The Times Literary Supplement (review date 20 June 1968)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "The Cuban Revolution," in The Times Literary Supplement, No. 3460, June 20, 1968, p. 638.

[In the following mixed review of Reminiscences of the Cuban Revolutionary War, the critic praises the volume's candor and humor but questions its value as an historical document.]

When the history of the Cuban Revolution comes to be written—and perhaps the time is not yet ripe—Ernesto "Che" Guevara's Reminiscences of the Cuban Revolutionary War will probably be regarded as the outstanding contemporary account of the revolutionary war in the Sierra Maestra. There exist a number of excellent first-hand reports by journalists (mostly foreign), but of the...

(The entire section is 1117 words.)

Newsweek (essay date 15 July 1968)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Che on Che," in Newsweek, Vol. LXXII, No. 3, July 15, 1968, pp. 41-2.

[In the following essay, the critic examines Guevara's writing habits as well as the focus and publication history of his diaries.]

Since his death in a squalid hamlet in the jungled mountains of Bolivia eight months ago, Ernesto (Che) Guevara has assumed a revered place in the romantic imagination of thousands of revolutionaries around the world. To many young people in particular, his bold attempt to carry the torch of Fidel Castro's Cuban revolution to the very heart of the South American continent was an act of high adventure and noble purpose. Last week, however, with the publication of...

(The entire section is 933 words.)

Lee Lockwood (review date 25 August 1968)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "The End of a Guerrillero," in The New York Times Book Review, August 25, 1968, pp. 1-2, 26, 28, 30.

[Lockwood is a photojournalist, editor, and author of a book about Fidel Castro and Cuba. In the following review, in which he offers a highly favorable assessment of Guevara's Bolivia diary, Lockwood praises Guevara's writing style and comments on several events in the Bolivian campaign.]

Dear Folks—Once again I feel the ribs of Rocinante between my heels; once again I take the road with my shield upon my arm…. Many will call me an adventurer, and that I am—only, one of a different sort, one who risks his neck to prove his...

(The entire section is 3640 words.)

The Times Literary Supplement (essay date 14 November 1968)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Right and Left: Che Guevara," in T.L.S.: Essays and Reviews from "The Times Literary Supplement"—1968, Vol. 7, Oxford University Press, London, 1969, pp. 19-24.

[In the following excerpt from a collection of essays written for The Times Literary Supplement during 1968, the critic discusses the insights that Guevara's diaries provide into his life and revolutionary activities in Bolivia. The critic also compares the Cuban and English editions of the diaries.]

Early in the afternoon of October 8, 1967, at Quebrada del Yuro, in the remote south-east corner of Bolivia, a small guerrilla force, led by Ernesto 'Che' Guevara, found itself surrounded by units...

(The entire section is 1458 words.)

Mose L. Harvey (essay date January 1969)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: A foreword to "Che" Guevara on Revolution: A Documentary Overview, edited by Jay Mallin, University of Miami Press, 1969, pp. 11-14.

[A diplomat, educator, editor, and author, Harvey was known as an authority on Soviet affairs and East European trade. In the following excerpt from an essay written in early 1969, he briefly discusses the popularity and influence of Guevara's writings, noting his contributions to Marxist thought.]

For any study of the Cuban revolution, the writings of Ernesto Guevara are of exceptional importance. Guevara played a number of roles in that revolution, and he alone of the top leaders was a prolific writer. Guevara's interests and...

(The entire section is 1432 words.)

Jay Mallin (essay date January 1969)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: An introduction to "Che" Guevara on Revolution: A Documentary Overview, edited by Jay Mallin, University of Miami Press, 1969, pp. 19-44.

[Mallin is the author of several books on Cuba and the Revolution, as well as works on Latin American and Caribbean politics. In the following excerpt, originally written in January 1969, he discusses Guevara's theories of guerrilla warfare as outlined in his various essays and in his Guerrilla Warfare, noting that "Guevara's ideas became the practical, as well as the theoretical guide for the Castro-Communist drive for power in Latin America."]

Guevara's first book, Guerrilla Warfare, was less a theoretical...

(The entire section is 1219 words.)

Kenneth Minogue (essay date 1970)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Che Guevara," in The New Left: Six Critical Essays, edited by Maurice Cranston, The Bodley Head, 1970, pp. 17-48.

[Born in New Zealand, Minogue is an educator and critic who writes and lectures on issues related to political science. In the following excerpt, he articulates the principal tenets of Guevara's "concrete and practical" Marxism.]

Che was a Marxist in both his actions and his theories. His fame in his respect is such as to place him alongside Bernstein, Kautsky, Lenin, Rosa Luxemburg, Tito, Ho Chi Minh and Mao Tse-tung. Most of these leaders combined action with theory, but the theory is mostly subordinate to the action. Such was the case with Che....

(The entire section is 5256 words.)