The Motorcycle Diaries by Ernesto "Che" Guevara
Why I Chose This Book
Simple: I was about to study abroad in Argentina and do some backpacking through South America! What better book to read than one of the original travel memoirs from the area?
Basically, it's about…
The Motorcycle Diaries follows the story of a young doctor, Ernesto "Che" Guevara, who sets out on a motorcycle journey around the continent with his friend Alberto Granado. As they travel around Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, and beyond, Che witnesses firsthand the injustices that were occurring around the continent under different types of Latin American regimes, and this journey is said to be what opened his eyes to new ways of thinking and eventually drove him to become very radical in his politics, eventually acting as a liberator and revolutionary in Cuba.
"I now know, by an almost fatalistic conformity with the facts, that my destiny is to travel…" – Che Guevara
I would totally recommend this book, especially as a companion for Latin American travels. It is a great way to explore the realities of Latin America in the 20th century, as well as a window into the eyes of a young revolutionary.
I originally bought my compy at a Barnes & Noble several days before flying to Argentina, but I didn't start it until I started my backpacking trip after my study abroad program. I was about halfway through the book when I realized I had accidently left my copy in a hostel in Bolivia – the country where Che was taken down by CIA operatives. Almost a year later, I hadn't picked up the book again until I found a used copy in Havana, Cuba's outdoor used book market. I reread the entire book in a few short days, and I will always cherish my copy that I found in Che's adopted home.