On January 4th, 1952, Che Guevara set out from Buenos Aires on his motorcycle, la Poderosa. He was 23 years old, a child of privilege, a medical student, ambitious, inexperienced, more than a bit naive about motorcycle mechanics and life, but his eyes were wide open. The journey took Che and his companion, 29 year-old biochemist Alberto Granado, to Chile, Peru and over the Andes into Amazonia, where they wound up working at a leper colony. Che Guevara appears five times in A Book of Ages, including the crucial meeting with Fidel Castro, being photographed by Alberto Korda, addressing the United Nations and having dinner with the Rockefellers, and finally being captured and executed in a remote area of Bolivia at age 39.
(A Book of Ages makes a perfect birthday gift for intelligent people of any age, whether they are revolutionaries, monarchists or Republicans. A useful book to take on any journey.)