Venceremos! : the Speeches and Writings of Ernesto Che Guevara Edited, Annotated, and With an Introduction by John Gerassi
New York : Macmillan, 1968. First Printing. Stated. Hardcover. 442 pages ; 24 cm. $7.95 dust jacket with a two inch tear along the top edge of the jacket back side and lots of small rips around the edges as well. Clothbound with shelf wear along the edges. Bookplate to front free endpaper. Small bookseller label at gutter of the front free endpaper. Pages are age toned and unmarked. Binding is firm.
Che Guevara's speeches and articles in Venceremosl constitute both a unique self-portrait of a dedicated, brilliant, and incredibly courageous man, and a historically invaluable manifesto. Guevara was second only to Fidel Castro as a leader of the Cuban Revolution. He stands alone, however, as a revolutionary, for his prime concern was non-nationalistic. He was for the oppressed everywhere.
In his own eloquent words: "Let the flag under which we fight represent the sacred cause of redeeming humanity, so that to die under the flag of Vietnam, of Venezuela, of Laos, of Guinea, of Colombia, of Bolivia, of Brazil—to name only the scenes of today's armed struggle—be equally glorious and desirable for an American, an Asian, an African, or even a European. . . . Each nation liberated is a step toward victory in the battle for the liberation of ones own country" The thirty-five pieces in the book are arranged chronologically, beginning with an account, based on diary entries, of the guerrilla fighting in the early days of the Cuban War of Liberation and ending with Guevara's last-known writing, "Message to the Tricontinental: 'Create two, three .. . many Vietnams.'"
Among the addresses and writings included are "On Party Militancy," a classic description of the dispute between moral and material incentives; "On Revolutionary Medicine," a very moving definition of the role of the individual in a collective society, using the medically trained as an example (Guevara was himself a doctor); "Colonialism Is Doomed," his famous speech attacking United States imperialism and also proposing concrete steps for achieving peace in the Caribbean; "On Socialist Competition and Sugar Production," an earthy chat with sugar cane cutters, most of them volunteers, giving simple reassurance about machines, which were viewed with suspicion by the cutters. There are also analyses of the Alliance for Progress, of the errors and successes of the Cuban economy, of guerrilla warfare, of Cuban-United States relations, and of the production process. And there is a technical, very difficult but fundamental discourse on value and another, equally important to economists, on socialist planning.
The introduction to Venceremos! provides an excellent short biography of Guevara— his amazing family, his youthful days in Argentina, his education, his many tours throughout Latin America, his later trips to Czechoslovakia, China, and Korea. There is also, for those interested in special aspects of Guevara's activities, a second table of contents, organized by subject matter: guerrilla warfare, capitalism and imperialism, human values and socialist man, economic theory, and economic policy.
JOHN GERASSI, an expert on Latin American affairs, first met Che Guevara in 1961 at the Punta del Este Conference, from which evolved the Alliance for Progress. Gerassi was assigned to cover the conference for The New York Times, but because Guevara was attracting the majority of attention Gerassi was assigned to "cover Guevara." They talked at length, with much candor on Guevara's part. In 1964 they met again in Cuba, where Gerassi had gone for Newsweek, and the two men again had many conversations. News of Guevara's death reached Gerassi at San Francisco State College, where he teaches Nationalism and Revolution in the Third World. Immediately, with the aid of a great many dedicated helpers—particularly the students, since Guevara is the subject of tremendous interest to young people—he began to track down speeches and articles, arrange for translations, set up interviews with people who had known Guevara. The result is this authoritative and moving book.
John Gerassi is also the author of The Great Fear and The Boys of Boise.
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