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A larger-than-life figure from a tumultuous age, Simon Bolivar ignited a revolution, liberated six countries from Spanish rule and is revered as South America's George Washington. Bolivia was named after him; the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela still basks in his glory. And yet he remains little known to North American readers, in part because there has been no first-rate popular biography of the Great Liberator—until now.
Drawing on a wealth of primary documents, novelist and journalist Marie Arana brilliantly captures early nineteenth-century South America and the explosive tensions that helped revolutionize Bolivar. In 1813, he launched a campaign for the independence of Colombia and Venezuela, commencing a dazzling career that would take him across the rugged terrain of South America. From his battlefield victories to his ill-fated brief marriage and legendary love affairs, Bolivar emerges as a man of many facets: fearless general, brilliant strategist, consummate diplomat, passionate abolitionist, and gifted writer. A major work of history, Bolivar colorfully portrays a dramatic life even as it explains the rivalries and complications that bedeviled Bolivar's tragic last days.