Author(s): Marie Arana
Simon Bolivar's life makes for one of history's most dramatic canvases, a colossal narrative filled with adventure and disaster, victory and defeat. This is the story not just of an extraordinary man but of the liberation of a continent. Drawing on a wealth of primary documents, Marie Arana brilliantly captures early 19th-century South America and the explosive tensions that helped revolutionise the young Simon Bolivar. In 1813 he launched a campaign for the independence of Colombia and Venezuela, commencing a dazzling career that would take him across the rugged terrain of South America. From his battlefield victories to his ill-fated brief marriage and legendary love affairs, Bolivar emerges in this compelling biography as a man of many facets: fearless general, brilliant strategist, consummate diplomat, passionate abolitionist and gifted writer. A major work of history, Arana colourfully portrays this dramatic life and explores the rivalries and turmoil that bedevilled Bolivar's tragic last days.
The dramatic life of the revolutionary hero who liberated South America - a sweeping narrative worthy of a Hollywood epic
Thrilling, authoritative and revelatory, here at last is a biography of Bolivar, the maker of South America, that catches the sheer extraordinary unique adventure and titanic scale of his life with accessible narrative and scholarly judgement. Simon Sebag Montefiore Arana is an indefatigable researcher, a perceptive historian, and a luminous writer, as shown in her defining, exhilarating biography of the great South American liberator Simon Bolivar. -- Brad Hooper BOOKLIST (USA) 20130301 The George Washington of South America cuts a dashing though dark-edged and ultimately tragic figure in this rousing biography. Peruvian journalist Arana (American Chica) chronicles Gen. Simon Bolivar's struggle against the Spanish Empire in the 1810s and '20s through several dizzying cycles of battlefield victory, triumphal procession, demoralizing reversal, and squalid exile, before he finally drove imperial forces out of Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. Her vivid portrait shows us a charismatic man of high ideals, fiery oratory, unflagging energy and resolve, bold strategies, and a romantic aura-"he rode, ragged and shirtless... his wild long hair riding the wind"-that women found irresistible. PUBLISHERS WEEKLY (USA) 20130218 Inspired... Arana ably captures the brash brilliance of this revered and vilified leader. KIRKUS REVIEWS (USA) In "Bolivar: American Liberator," Bolivar emerges as a complex and confounding human being. He was the essential figure in the revolutionary wars that created five South American countries. Brilliant and erudite, he was an idealist and also a ruthless military leader as well as a deeply charismatic a man of letters -- Hector Tobar LOS ANGELES TIMES (USA) 20130411 "Bolivar" is a monumental achievement destined to win some major literary prizes. Like most recent books on the North American founders, it assumes that all icons are also flawed creatures. All of Bolivar's flaws are on display here - his inveterate womanizing, periodic bouts of arrogance, flirtation with Napoleonic versions of omnipotence. But if Jefferson is eventually proved right, and democracy does come to Latin America in full form, the man so brilliantly recovered in these pages will be shouting hosannas from the heavens. -- Joseph J Ellis WASHINGTON POST (USA) 20130405 Finally, Bolivar gets the sweeping biography he deserves. He was the greatest leader in Latin American history, and his tale is filled with lessons about leadership and passion. This book reads like a wonderful novel but is researched like a masterwork of history. -- Walter Isaacson, Author Of Steve Jobs This is a magnificent story. Deeply researched and written with clarity, honesty, and verve, Marie Arana's book tells the life of one of the greatest heroes and founders in world history. North Americans who know only of George Washington will thrill to read the epic adventures of his South American counterpart. As fantastic as Bolivar's life appears, 'it is not,' as Arana says of Latin America's bloody past in general, 'magical realism. It is history. It is true. -- Gordon S. Wood, Author Of Empire Of Liberty, Alva O. Way University Professor And Professor Of History Emeritus At Brown University With the eye and ear of a novelist, Marie Arana chants the epic of Bolivar with love, zest, and compelling authority. -- Walter A. McDougall, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Historian And Alloy-Ansin Professor Of International Relations, University Of Pennsylvania Simon Bolivar has found the perfect biographer in Marie Arana, a literary journalist, brilliant novelist of South America, and wise historian as well. Her portrait of Bolivar is human and moving; she has written a powerful and epic life and times. -- Evan Thomas, Author Of Ike's Bluff: President Eisenhower's Secret Struggle To Save The World
Peruvian by birth, Marie Arana is former literary editor of the WASHINGTON POST and author of four books: a memoir, AMERICAN CHICA (a finalist for the National Book Award and the PEN/Martha Albrand Award); THE WRITING LIFE: WRITERS ON HOW THEY THINK AND WORK; as well as two novels set in South America: CELLOPHANE (a finalist for the John Sargent Sr. Prize) and LIMA NIGHTS. http://mariearana.net/ http://www.facebook.com/marie.arana.98