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Cover image for Bolivar : the liberator of Latin America
Bolivar : the liberator of Latin America
New York, NY : Skyhorse Publishing, [2011]
Physical Description:
viii, 404 pages, 8 pages of plates : illustrations, maps, portraits ; 24 cm.
Series title(s):
General Note:
"A Herman Graf book."
The liberation of New Granada (modern Venezuela, Colombia, and Panama): Young Bolívar ; Madrid ; The longest empire ; Tremors ; Miranda : poseur, seducer, genius ; Revolutionary general ; The 'invasion' of Venezuela ; ¡Independencia! ; The avenger ; Up river, across mountains ; Into Venezuela ; Hell's legionnaires ; Down and out in Jamaica ; The Orinoco ; Páez ; The crossing of the Andes ; Victory at Carabobo -- The liberation of Peru (modern Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia): Towards the silver mountain ; Showdown with San Martín ; Trapped in Lima ; Lances in the mountains -- Downfall: The idealist ; The division of Colombia ; Showdown with Santander ; Ploughing the sea.
Profiles the South American general and revolutionary who helped liberate several South American countries from Spanish domination.


Call Number
921 Bolivar, Simon 2011
921 BOLIVAR 2011

On Order



Simon Bolivar freed no fewer than what were to become six countries--a vast domain some 800,000 square miles in extent--from Spanish colonial rule in savage wars against the then-mightiest military machine on earth. The ferocity of his leadership and fighting earned him the grudging nickname "the devil" from his enemies. His astonishing resilience in the face of military defeat and seemingly hopeless odds, as well his equestrian feat of riding tens of thousands of miles across what remains one of the most inhospitable territories on earth, earned him the name Culo de Hierro --Iron Ass--among his soldiers. It was one of the most spectacular military campaigns in history, fought against the backdrop of the Andean mountains, through immense flooded savannahs, jungles, and shimmering deserts. Indeed the war itself was medieval--fought under warlords across huge spaces by horsemen with lances, and infantry with knives and machetes (as well as muskets). It was the last warriors' war.

Although the creator of the northern half of Latin America, Bolivar inspired the whole continent and still does today. This is Robert Harvey's astonishing, gripping, and beautifully researched biography of one of South America's most cherished heroes and one of the world's most accomplished military leaders, by any standard.

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

The last of the truly great military commanders before the advent of modern, impersonal warfare, Simon Bolivar led his men through thousands of miles of nearly impassable terrain, undeterred by shattering defeats and unimaginable privations, to liberate six countries from the Spanish Empire. Harvey painstakingly recounts Bolivar's victory against seemingly impossible odds and his subsequent descent into the type of megalomaniacal tyranny against which he had fought. Harvey (Liberators), a former British MP and columnist for the Daily Telegraph, makes extensive use of primary sources to chronicle the trials of Bolivar's men, crafting a narrative that is granular in its focus on the war's day-by-day progress while remaining cognizant of the grand sweep of history. The book's single-minded attention to tactical matters and military maneuvers, however, is sometimes reminiscent of the box score of a baseball game, and often leaves the reader wanting more about the human culture of the region and the consequences of imperialism and conquest. It is a testament to Harvey's skill that his account of alliances and betrayals, deceptions and grisly executions, liberally interspersed with details of Bolivar's many love affairs, remains gripping and illuminates something of the leader's contradictory personality. 24 b&w illus. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Kirkus Review

The great liberator Simn Bolvar (17831830) receives a colorful treatment by an admiring British journalist.Harvey (The Fall of Apartheid: The Inside Story from Smuts to Mbeki, 2002, etc.) sees in Bolvar's evolution the epitome of the Romantic hero. He was a spoiled son of Venezuela who seized sobering ideas from his enlightened tutor and from far-flung travels to Europe, and, after a terrible clash with adversity, he joined the rebel movement against the Spanish oppressors of his homeland. Harvey examines Bolvar's later greatness from his early revolutionary seeds. He was born to an independent-minded family from northern Spain that broke off from the Castilian state in the late 16th century to migrate, and Bolvar grew up within a charmed life in Caracas and demonstrated early on an ungovernable spirit. His formative experiences included being tutored by the unorthodox Simn Rodrguez, steeped in Rousseau'sEmile, his ill-fated young marriage (his bride died after less than a year) and witnessing the coronation of Napoleon Bonaparte, whom Bolvar had worshipped before he proved to be a "hypocritical tyrant." Inculcated in the Spanish criollo system of feudalism, Bolvar had also soured on the oppressive Spanish reign that had denied his family a certificate of pure blood; he grew to abhor what he witnessed as the exploitation of Latin American resources and people "to satisfy the insatiable greed of Spain." Harvey ably weaves the context around Bolvar's daredevil vision to challenge the powerful Spanish empire built by central authority, the church and military. Later in life, Bolvar displayed the ruthlessness, daring and literary eloquence that would ultimately liberate millions of enslaved, illiterate South Americans and inspire a continentas well as create a troubling legacy of authoritarianism that would wreak bloody havoc after him.An energetic, satisfyingly florid narrative that captures the passion and frenzy in this extraordinary life.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* For more than two centuries, ardent and would-be Latin American revolutionaries, from Che Guevara to Hugo Chavez, have paid homage to Simon Bolivar, which they should, since six Latin American nations Bolivia, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Panama owe their independence directly to his millitary campaigns. Harvey, a former editor of the Economist and member of the British Parliament, has written an often thrilling, inspiring, but ultimately sad chronicle of a man justly dubbe. The Liberator. Bolivar was the scion of an aristocratic Venezuelan family who showed a restless, rebellious spirit in adolescence. Sent by relatives to Europe, he immersed himself in salon society and Enlightenment ideas. By the time he returned home, he was committed to emancipating Latin America from smothering Spanish control. This is an epic story of numerous military campaigns across a vast and unforgiving landscape of mountains and swamps. It is also a finely crafted character study of a man frustrated by his inability to transform his military triumphs into stable political institutions. This is a masterful biography, ideal for general readers.--Freeman, Ja. Copyright 2010 Booklist

Table of Contents

Mapsp. ix
Acknowledgements and a Note on Sourcesp. 1
Prologuep. 3
Introductionp. 7
Part 1 The Liberation of New Granada (Modern Venezuela, Colombia and Panama)
1 Young Bolívarp. 15
2 Madridp. 21
3 The Longest Empirep. 35
4 Tremorsp. 51
5 Miranda: Poseur, Seducer, Geniusp. 65
6 Revolutionary Generalp. 83
7 The 'Invasion' of Venezuelap. 97
8 i Independencia!p. 111
9 The Avengerp. 123
10 Up River, Across Mountainsp. 137
11 Into Venezuelap. 147
12 Hell's Legionnairesp. 161
13 Down and Out in Jamaicap. 183
14 The Orinocop. 199
15 Páezp. 217
16 The Crossing of the Andesp. 239
17 Victory at Carabobop. 255
Part 2 The Liberation of Peru (Modern Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia)
18 Towards the Silver Mountainp. 271
19 Showdown with San Martínp. 279
20 Trapped in Limap. 293
21 Lances in the Mountainsp. 307
Part 3 Downfall
22 The Idealistp. 331
23 The Division of Colombiap. 347
24 Showdown with Santanderp. 355
25 Ploughing the Seap. 375
Bibliographyp. 391
Indexp. 397