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Books  >>  Biography

Marie Arana

Bolivar

Marie Arana Bolivar American Liberator
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Main description:

A brilliant biography that “reads like a wonderful novel but is researched like a masterwork of history” (Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs), this is the epic story of the famous South American general and statesman Simón Bolívar.

It is astonishing that Simón Bolívar, the “Great Liberator” of South America, is not better known in the United States. He freed six countries from Spanish rule, traveled more than 75,000 miles on horseback to do so, and became the greatest figure in Latin-American history. Throughout his heroic life, he fought battle after battle in punishing terrain, forged uncertain coalitions of competing forces and races, lost his beautiful wife soon after they married and never remarried (although he did have a succession of mistresses), and died relatively young, uncertain whether his achievements would endure.

In 1813 Bolívar 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 marriage and legendary love affairs, Bolívar emerges as a man of many facets: fearless general, brilliant strategist, consummate diplomat, passionate abolitionist, gifted writer, and flawed politician.

An “energetic and highly readable telling” (The Los Angeles Times), Bolívar “offers a clear-eyed assessment of the ideals, alliances, and human frailties that drove Bolívar’s choices and shaped the Americas” (The New Yorker).

Review quote:

"A fascinating biography of the charismatic military leader who sparked a revolution."

Review quote:

"Arana offers a clear-eyed assessment of the ideals, alliances, and human frailties that drove Bolívar’s choices and shaped the Americas."

Review quote:

"Wonderful. . . . In Arana's energetic and highly readable telling, Bolívar comes alive as having willed himself an epic life. . . . She brings great verve and literary flair to her biography of Bolívar."

Review quote:

Epic is a word used too often to describe lesser work, but Marie Arana’s marvelously readable Bolívar: American Liberator is a biography that earns its adjective.”

Review quote:

“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 Simón Bolívar.”

Review quote:

“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.”

Review quote:

“Inspired. . . . Arana ably captures the brash brilliance of this revered and vilified leader.”

Review quote:

“Most North American historians have mentioned [Bolivar] only in passing, usually making 'the George Washington of Latin America' reference. . . . That conception obviously needed correction in the form of a comprehensive biography that makes Bolivar’s life accessible to a large readership in the United States. Bolivar is unquestionably that book. . . . Bolivar is magisterial in scope, written with flair and an almost cinematic sense of history happening. . . . A monumental achievement destined to win some major literary prizes.”

Review quote:

“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."

Review quote:

“This i
“With the eye and ear of a novelist, Marie Arana chants the epic of Bolivar with love, zest, and compelling authority.”


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