Fighting talk

<strong>Guerrilla Warfare: authorised edition</strong>

Ernesto Che Guevara <em>Ocean Press, 160pp

Written just a year after the 1959 Cuban revolution, Guevara's discussion of military strategy is more an anachronistic curiosity than a manual for tacticians.

"No battle, combat, or skirmish should be fought unless it can be won," Che Guevara assures the readers, establishing early on the author's preference for banal generalities. The advice doesn't improve much – there are passages on the correct age to become a combatant, or the proper placement of food in a backpack.

Undoubtedly, Che Guevara and Castro achieved incredible victories, yet the book never touches on any details of any campaign, which would at least have added historical interest.

Whatever you may think of Guevara, his military record after this book was finished was less than glorious. He played a controversial role in the 1962 nuclear missile crisis and later failed in his attempts to ignite revolutions in Congo and Bolivia, losing his life in the process.

Yet reading the passages of this work where Guevara issues vague instructions to show leniency towards captured enemies, and contrasting them with reports of the massacres of Batista supporters which he supervised, one is almost grateful that he never manages to explain himself clearly.