A monumental biography that "captures the passion and frenzy in this extraordinary life" (Kirkus Reviews) and is at once "masterful" and "ideal for general readers" (Booklist, starred review)
Simón Bolívar 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 the planet, 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 savannas, 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, Bolívar 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.
About the Author
Robert Harvey has been a columnist for the Daily Telegraph, assistant editor of the Economist, and a member of British Parliament. He is the author of many books, including The War of Wars; The Undefeated: The Rise, Fall, and Rise of Greater Japan; Portugal: Birth of a Democracy; Liberators; Global Disorder: America and the Threat of World Conflict; Cochrane; and Bolivar.
“A masterful biography, ideal for general readers.”—Booklist, starred review
"Colorful . . . An energetic, satisfyingly florid narrative that captures the passion and frenzy in this extraordinary life . . . Harvey ably weaves the context around Bolívar’s daredevil vision to challenge the powerful Spanish empire built by central authority, the church and military."—Kirkus Reviews
"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 . . . It is a testament to Harvey's skill that his account of alliances and betrayals, deceptions and grisly executions, liberally interspersed with details of Bolívar's many love affairs, remains gripping and illuminates something of the leader's contradictory personality."—Publishers Weekly