Synopses & Reviews
He is one of the most controversial and important world leaders currently in power. In this international bestseller, at last available in English, Hugo Chávez is captured in a critically acclaimed biography, a riveting account of the Venezuelan president who continues to influence, fascinate, and antagonize America.
Born in a small town on the Venezuelan plains, Chávez found his interests radically altered when he entered the military academy in Caracas. There, as Hugo Chávez reveals in dramatic detail, he was drawn to leftist politics and a new sense of himself as predestined to change the fortunes of his country and Latin America as a whole.
Portrayed as never before is the double life Chávez soon began to lead: by day he was a family man and a military officer, but by night he secretly recruited insurgents for a violent overthrow of the government. His efforts would climax in an attempted coup against President Carlos Andrés Pérez, an action that ended in a spectacular failure but gave Chávez his first irresistible taste of celebrity and laid the groundwork for his ascension to the presidency eight years later.
Here is the truth about Chávezs revolutionary “Bolivarian” government, which stresses economic reforms meant to discourage corruption and empower the poor–while the leader spends seven thousand dollars a day on himself and cozies up to Arab oil elites. Venezuelan journalists Cristina Marcano and Alberto Barrera Tyszka explore the often crude and comical public figure who
condemns George W. Bush in the most fiery language but at the same time hires lobbyists to improve his countrys image in the West. The authors examine not only Chávezs political career but also his personal life–including his first marriage, which was marked by a long affair and the birth of a troubled son, and his second marriage, which produced a daughter toward whom Chávezs favoritism has caused private tension and public talk.
This seminal biography is filled with exclusive excerpts from Chávezs own diary and draws on new research and interviews with such insightful subjects as Herma Marksman, the professor who was his mistress for nine years. Hugo Chávez is an essential work about a man whose power, peculiarities, and passion for the global spotlight only continue to grow.
"'Veteran Venezuelan journalists Marcano and Tyszka have aimed for rare middle ground with a biography that neither extols nor decries Venezuelan president Chvez. The account mostly moves chronologically, presenting details about Chvez's humble beginnings in the Venezuelan plains and his ascent through the military ranks. Chvez's 1992 failed coup attempt is explained in great detail, as is the attempt to oust him in 2002. The authors seamlessly weave in interviews with people who know Chvez well, offering a glimpse into his psychology. The narrative also delves into Chvez's love life, as well as the dynamics of his relationship with Fidel Castro. Though the pace of the book is inconsistent, with some events receiving a surplus of detail while others feel rushed, it's generally smart and well-written, making it a good start for those curious about Chvez, and a treat for those who closely follow the Venezuelan leader and yearn for a less biased overview of his life.' Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
This major new biography of the controversial Chvez is an in-depth profile of a new kind of South American leader--a man who is taking a daring place on the global stage with the grassroots socialist movement that is sweeping his native Venezuela. 16-page photo insert.
About the Author
Cristina Marcano is a journalist with extensive experience in the Venezuelan media. She has worked as the chief of international information and the political subeditor for the newspaper El Nacional in Caracas. She currently works as a correspondent for the Mexican newspaper Reforma and as an independent collaborator for El Nacional.
Alberto Barrera Tyszka is a widely read Sunday editorial columnist for El Nacional. In 2006 he won the prestigious Herralde literary prize for his novel La Enfermedad. He is the author of several books and regularly publishes in Letras Libres.
Moisés Naím is a former minister for trade and industry of Venezuela, and is currently the editor in chief of Foreign Policy magazine.