Bolivar: The Life of an Idealist

By Emil Ludwig | Go to book overview

Foreword

TO ITS heroes a nation erects statues of bronze; if the hero is a great soldier he rides on a high pedestal above the public square. But the nation wants to know also the psychology of its hero, which of course no monument can represent; everyone will take him as an example and will compare himself to the hero. After a century, when the echo of his deeds begin to fade, when the liberty he has conquered for the nation is safe from all danger, when the enemy of old times has become an old friend, then the human motives which guided the hero appear much stronger behind the battles and the constitutions. For human characters always renew themselves; and their passions, their joys and griefs bring stronger enlightening to posterity than the tale of events gone long since.

Several times Bolivar has been so imperiously represented by his compatriots and scholars that his country expects nothing new from a foreigner. But, like the stranger who, for the first time, enters the family circle, he can perhaps examine this figure with a new and unprejudiced glance, and because of the fact that he is not interested in political peculiarities he may produce the very essence of the human being. This is what moves the writer and foreign nations more deeply than campaigns and congresses the names of which are nearly unknown outside of South America.

How little known seems to be this tragic character!-- That is the reason why this book tells little about battles, just as the book about Napoleon by the same author does not. Youth which grows up amongst tanks and murderous weapons can consider

-vii-

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Bolivar: The Life of an Idealist
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Foreword vii
  • Contents xi
  • Chapter One - the Dandy 1
  • Chapter Two - Ordeal 49
  • Chapter Three - the Liberator 109
  • Chapter Four - the Dictator 199
  • Chapter Five - Don Quixote 287
  • Index 357
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