Synopses & Reviews
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.
SIMÓN BOLÍVAR —El Libertador—freed six countries from Spanish rule and is still the most revered figure in South America today. He traveled from Amazon jungles to the Andes mountains, engaged in endless battles and forged fragile coalitions of competing forces and races. He lived an epic life filled with heroism, tragedy (his only wife died young), and legend (he was saved from an assassination attempt by one of his mistresses). In Bolívar, Marie Arana has written a sweeping biography that is as bold and as passionate as its subject.
Drawing on a wealth of primary documents, Arana vividly captures the early nineteenth-century South America that made Bolívar the man he became: fearless general, brilliant strategist, consummate diplomat, dedicated abolitionist, gifted writer, and flawed politician. A major work of history, Bolívar not only portrays a dramatic life in all its glory, but is also a stirring declaration of what it means to be South American.
“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.” Joseph J. Ellis, Washington Post Book World
“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." Evan Thomas, author of Ike's Bluff: President Eisenhower's Secret Struggle to Save the World
“With the eye and ear of a novelist, Marie Arana chants the epic of Bolivar with love, zest, and compelling authority.” Walter A. McDougall, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and Alloy-Ansin Professor of International Relations, University of Pennsylvania
“This is a magnificent story. Deeply researched and written with clarity, honesty, and verve, Marie Arana’s book tells the life of one of the greatest heroes and founders in world history.’” Gordon S. Wood, author of Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789–1815, Alva O. Way University Professor and Professor of History Emeritus at Brown University
“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.” Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs
About the Author
Marie Arana was born in Lima, Peru, the daughter of a Peruvian father and an American mother. Her latest book is a biography of the South American founder Simón Bolívar, Bolívar: American Liberator, which was released in April 2013. Highly praised in the United States and Britain, it won the Los Angeles Times Book Award in 2014. Marie is also the author of an acclaimed memoir American Chica, which described her bicultural childhood between North and South Americas. The book was a finalist for the National Book Award, the PEN-Memoir Award, and chosen best book of the year by several publications. Her novels, Cellophane and Lima Nights, are dramatically different works, the first being a rich, lush satire of the Amazon jungle, the second being a stark, urban love story set in contemporary Peru; both were cited by numerous national publications as one of the best books of the year. Her book The Writing Life, is a collection from her well-known column for The Washington Post, which explores the way writers think and work. Marie wrote the Latin American script for the film Girl Rising, which premiered in March 2013. Marie is the former editor in chief of "Book World" at The Washington Post and a senior consultant to the Librarian of Congress. You can find more information about her at www.mariearana.net.