American Liberator

Book - 2013
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An authoritative portrait of the Latin-American warrior-statesman draws on a wealth of primary documents to set his life against a backdrop of the explosive tensions of 19th-century South America, providing coverage of such topics as his role in the 1813 campaign for Colombian and Venezuelan independence, his legendary love affairs and his achievements as a strategist, abolitionist and diplomat.
Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster, 2013
Edition: 1st Simon & Schuster hardcover ed
Description: 603 p. : ill. (chiefly col.), maps ; 25 cm
ISBN: 9781439110195
Branch Call Number: 980.02092 Bol

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Sep 14, 2017

This is a long book at 468 pages of smallish text. It is told completely chronologically, following Bolívar’s life from his wealthy upbringing as in a Creole (white, South American born) family, his education in Europe, his multiple failed attempts to foment the overthrow of the Spanish colonial powers, his eventual success in multiple places all over South America over a period of just eleven years, and his inability to harness the ambitions or treachery of the officials and soldiers left in command while he hared around the country (they didn’t call him ‘Iron-Ass’ for nothing).
It’s written by a novelist and journalist, but I need have had no fear of that as a historian. There are copious footnotes (although they are not signalled in the text) and she has obviously immersed herself in the various historigraphical debates about Simon Bolívar.
Nearly every reference to Simon Bolívar that I have read his ended up using Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ title for his book The General in his Labyrinth. But it certainly seems that his long drawn-out death was probably the worst way for a revolutionary hero to die: enfeebled and disillusioned, with people wondering when he would eventually die.

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SFPL_RicardoA Jan 22, 2015

A sweeping, extraordinary biography that is entertaining and well-written. Expect no Bolivar-the-hero reflected here, but rather a true portrait of a sometimes flawed, sometimes courageous man facing impossible odds in his quest to gain independence from Spain for much of South America. Highly recommended.

Aug 01, 2013

This is historical research that reads like a novel. Most North Americans don't know anything about Bolivar, yet he was as significant and important as Napoleon, Washington, Wellington, or Brandt. Of course, if those names don't sound familiar you may not be interested..,.

ChristchurchLib Jun 18, 2013

"In 1813, 200 years before the publication of this biography, Simón Bolívar began the military campaign that would eventually lead to the liberation of much of South America from Spanish rule. This vivid and thoroughly researched biography explores his family background, his youth, and his career following independence to create a nuanced portrait of this complex man, viewed both as a dictatorial strongman and as a visionary leader." June 2013 Biography and Memoir newsletter

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