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GUEVARA, Ernesto "Che".

La Guerra de Guerillas.

A Camillo.

Published: Havana: Impreso en los talleres tipográficos del I.N.R.A. por el Departamento de Instrucción del MINFAR [Printed in the typographical workshops of the National Institute for Agrarian Reform for the Department of Instruction of the Ministry of the Revolutionary Armed Forces], 1960

Stock code: 91954

Price: £8,500

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First edition of Guevara’s highly influential manual of guerrilla warfare, this copy inscribed on the front free endpaper to one of the pressmen who worked on the book; “Al maquinista Poder Hernandez cuya dedicación permitió hacer rapidamente este manual, Che, Habana, 60 [To machinist Power Hernandez whose dedication allowed the speedy production of this handbook]”. An extremely uncommon book, quickly, cheaply, just plain badly produced, we have been able to trace just one other inscribed copy, that sent to exiled Argentinian dictator Juan Perón, offered at Sotheby’s in 2012. Based on his personal experience as one of the theoretical and “battlefield” leaders of the recently concluded Cuban Revolution, Guevara’s guide to asymmetric warfare remains essential for the study of the subject after more than half a century. Perhaps his most original contribution being that of “foquismo”; a “Latin American variation of the guerrilla warfare theory turned the Marxist-Maoist formulation of the political party driving the military forces on its head. In this articulation, it was not the political vanguard that would create the popular army, but the guerrilla force itself could be a revolutionary fusion of political and military authority. The guerrillas could act as a revolutionary ‘vanguard’ party in a nascent form … In fact, a fundamental lesson that Guevara drew from the Cuban Revolution was that an insurrection in itself could create the necessary conditions for a Revolution. Such an insurrection should be organised by a relatively small group of guerrillas—the foco (focus). The government’s inability to eliminate the highly mobile guerrillas would force it into over-reaction against the population. The foco would thus act as a catalyst for the wider popular insurrection that would flow from government repression” (Kalyanaraman, “Conceptualisation of Guerrilla Warfare” in Strategic Analysis, Vol. 27, No. 2, 2003, p.180). As Minister of Industries Guevara was de facto head of the I.N.R.A., on whose presses this fragile little book was produced, and was responsible for raising and training the Institute’s 100,000 strong militia, the primary role of which was the seizure and redistribution land expropriated under the Agrarian Reform Law. A wonderfully evocative copy of this important little book.

Octavo. Wire-stitched in the original light card pictorial wraps. Housed in black quarter morocco, book-style, drop-back box by the Chelsea Bindery. 5 full-page illustrations to the text. Wraps rubbed, soiled and chipped, spine browned, lacking 10 mm at the tail, and with some repairs, lower panel a little damped at the lower margin, medium toning and some light foxing, largely toward the rear, overall a remarkably well-preserved copy.

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