Che Guevara: The Revolutionary Activist With A Long, Misunderstood History


Most Americans know Che Guevara, the Argentine revolutionary, from the image that's been emblazoned on millions of t-shirts and posters on dorm room walls, but he's so much more than a stoic, mysterious face. The lack of historians hanging around revolutionary Cuba has resulted in a lot of apocryphal stories about Guevara, so it's hard to separate the man from the myth, but what we do know makes it 

Born Ernesto Guevara on June 14, 1928 in Rosario, Argentina, Guevara was one of five children in a middle-class family who rubbed elbows with survivors of the Spanish Civil War. As a young man, he threw himself into the literary works of philosophers like Nietzsche and Freud and caught a persistent case of wanderlust from Jack London, the latter inspiring him to blow off med school at the University of Buenos Aires to take the first of two lengthy motorcycle journeys throughout South America in 1950.

This first trip took him through rural Argentina, while his second trek one year later turned into a nine-year journey through South America that culminated with a few weeks of volunteer work at the San Pablo leper colony in Peru. Both put Guevara in touch with a poverty he never knew existed, inspiring him to abandon medicine and dive into the Marxist revolution.