The Motorcycle Diaries

Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara

There are the diaries written by Che Guevara during his riotous motorcycle odyssey from Argentina through Chile and Peru ending finally in Venezuela. Most of the journey was undertaken on ‘La Poderosa’, the Powerful One: a 500cc Norton. Che Guevara’s route is no political campaign: it is six months of high drama and low comedy in which the main concerns of Che and his travelling partner are where the next drink is coming from, where the next bed is to be found and who might be around to share it. This is a diary full of laddish improvisations: needing to earn money in Chile where there is an outburst of fires Guevara enlists as a fireman only to oversleep as a house is reduced to ashes; he shoots the dog of one of his hosts fearing that it is a puma on the loose; when grievously affected with stomach cramps he relieves himself out of his bedroom window somewhat to the detriment of the trays of peaches racked below. This lusty travelogue is free of pomp and full of life. Had Guevara’s life not become so entwined in revolutionary adventure this would certainly have been the journey of a lifetime.

Reviews of The Motorcycle Diaries

  • ‘It’s true; Marxists just wanna have fun.’ Guardian

    ‘Politically-correct revolutionary hero? Perhaps a few years later, but in this account Che Guevara comes over as one of the lads.’ Bike News

    ‘What distinguishes these diaries is that they reveal a human side to El Che which historians have successfully managed to suppress…one senses El Che’s belief that determination and conviction can be enough to change one’s self and others… a joy to read from start to finish.’ Financial Times

    ‘Political incorrectness galore…this book should do much to humanise the image of a man who found his apotheosis as a late Sixties cultural icon. It is also, incidentally, a remarkably good travel book about South America.’ Scotsman