An eye-opening account, documented with many endnotes, of who Ernesto "Che" Guevara was and how he behaved. The sources are usually Cubans--exiles in Miami; surviving relatives of people executed on Guevara's orders (Fidel Castro put him in charge of executions); Bay of Pigs invasion survivors; and former Cuban Communists who defected to the U.S. Most biographies of Guevara are hagiographies, some written by the Cuban government itself. Some of the principal facts you will learn are:
-Guevara wasn't Cuban, but a native of Argentina. (My personal observation: Being not born in the country they rule, or help rule, is something common among major Communist and socialist leaders. Guevara was Argentinian; Joseph Stalin was ethnically Georgian, not Russian; Adolf Hitler was Austrian-born; Napoleon was not French but Corsican.
-Guevara enjoyed killing people and/or watching them die. How do we know? He said so once, in a letter to his father after the first time he killed someone. Also, he had a window installed in his office so he could watch his firing squad execute people outside. This is in contraindication to most biographies, which present Guevara as saintly. (Some even equate him with Jesus Christ, calling him "Chesucristo.")
-He passionately hated the United States, and, in a famous speech given before the UN, declared a desire to see it destroyed. (The author implies that Guevara wanted to launch the nuclear weapons that the Soviets placed in Cuba.)
-As a military strategist and field commander, he was totally incompetent, and once admitted to a colleague that he knew nothing about military strategy. (Despite that, he wrote a famous primer on how to conduct guerrilla warfare.) The "revolution" that took over Cuba consisted of nothing but Che bribing the military commanders of the Batista regime, with very little actual combat occurring. Batista's officers were already not very motivated to fight, because the Batista regime was corrupt and unpopular.
During Guevara's campaigns in other countries, trying on Cuba's behalf to help local Communists take over, his military performance simply makes him look ridiculous. He fails to recruit local peasants as guerrillas, and can't even lead his men without getting lost--for months! That last part is in Bolivia, where Guevara is finally captured and killed in a joint operation by the Bolivian army and CIA.
-When not clearly possessing superior force, Guevara was a coward. In the Bolivian capture that I mentioned above, when facing Bolivian soldiers, Guevara surrendered quickly, repeatedly telling them he was "worth more alive than dead." The other thing noted in the book is, Guevara was terrified of Fidel Castro, and sucked up to him whenever possible, including in a famous farewell letter. (The sucking up didn't help. Castro bullied Guevara a number of times, and in fact, the real reason Castro sent Guevara abroad in the first place was to get rid of him.
The weakness of the book is that the author, being a Cuban exile who lost family and friends to Guevara's firing squads, writes with an obviously angry and contemptuous attitude. However, facts are facts, and if his anger throws the reader into doubt, the footnotes are there to be checked.