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Views & Reviews Medical Classics

The Motorcycle Diaries

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 15 April 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b1557
  1. Carmen Pinto, consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist, South London and Maudsley NHS Trust, London
  1. Carmen.Pinto{at}

    When he started these diaries in 1952 “Che” was just Ernesto Guevara, a 23 year old Argentinian medical student who knew that what he was writing was “not the tale of impressive deeds but the description of two lives that in a moment in time were together with a common aim.”

    That aim was to travel around South America, initially by motorcycle, with his older friend the biochemist Alberto Granado to learn about leprosy; but Guevara’s experiences in hospitals and clinics across the continent had made him a “different person” by the end of the journey. The book’s many medical references allow the reader to get a sense of the state …

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