A Soviet historian presents in a descriptive and narrative form an overview of the life of Ernesto Guevara. The book is divided into four sections. Section one covers the period 1928-56 (78 pages), Che’s childhood and adolescence. Most of the material originated from interviews with Che’s father and friends. Although there is some new information, nothing unusual is presented. Section two deals with the period 1956-58 (61 pages), when Che was a guerrillero in Cuba. The author relied on Che’s writings for this period. Section three goes from 1959 to 1965 (67 pages). This is the least interesting part of the book. We learn absolutely nothing of Che the theoretician or of his critiques of the Soviet model of socialist construction. (The author suggests at one point that Che may have followed José Ingenieros’s thesis of las fuerzas morales in his preference of moral incentives, or something other than Marxism.) Section four, concentrating on the years 1965-67 (102 pages), is without question the most controversial part of this book. The author’s discussion of how Che used to sign his administrative papers (he signed his name in early 1959 with his title of doctor, adding Che in parentheses, then dropped the “doctor” and added “major,” and finally signed only as Che) is most revealing. Most of the last section is dedicated to a detailed account of Che’s activities in Bolivia. It should be noted that the author acknowledges that he has no idea where Che was from April 1965 until late in 1966. He suggests, nevertheless, that Che probably was in Africa. Elsewhere he makes a major discovery; that is, that as early as March 1964, the Bolivian expedition was being planned under Che’s direct leadership.”
Overall, the description of events in Bolivia is, in a subtle way, critical of Che.
The book has neither footnotes nor a bibliography.