Che Guevara book in the Critical Lives series published by Alpha Books. I was wondering if you would be able to assist me with any information about Che Guevara. Such as what your opinion on him is, why you wrote in the book about him and any other information that could assist me in my assessment.
On the negative side, I'd say that his ideological rigidity, intolerance of dissent, and utopian messianism turned out to be a disastrous recipe both for Cuba and for the other countries and movements where his ideas were put into practice.
While his vision and example of the "new (altruistic and socialist) man" was inspiring to many, when applied on a national scale in Cuba it led to economic collapse, divisive and almost religious orthodoxy and sectarianism, and perhaps worst of all increasing alienation and cynicism (instead of inspiration and hope) on the part of new generations of children and grandchildren of the revolution.
It is quite instructive that the economic reforms currently being slowly put into place in Cuba today under the leadership of Raul Castro are the very antithesis of Guevara's ideas of revolutionary consciousness, voluntary labor, moral incentives, and the new man.
While Che, Fidel, and "socialism" are often celebrated as revolutionary, socialist "saints" today in Cuba (and even used to justify the need for an "updating" of Cuba's economic model), even the Cuban government has come to recognize that their economic ideas have been unworkable at best and ruinous at worst.
They still teach Cuban school children to shout "Viva Fidel!" (long live Fidel) and "Seremos como El Che!" (we'll be like Che), but almost everyone recognizes the irony and contradiction between these patriotic slogans that celebrate an idealized, defiant past and the "brave new world" that Cuba faces today.
I hope this helps and feel free to let me know if you have any follow up questions.