Bolívar and the War of Independence - Memorias del General Daniel Florencio O'Leary Narración
Robert F. McNerney
Publisher: University of Texas Press
“Without a doubt the best work ever published in the English language on the life and deeds of Simón Bolivar. . . . Full of interesting vignettes.” ―Inter-American Review of Bibliography The overthrow of Spanish rule and the birth of new republican governments in northern South America at the dawn of the nineteenth century were in large part the work of one man—Simón Bolívar. Bolívar was not only the soldier who built a patriot army from a small band of exiles and led them victoriously across Venezuela and down the spine of the Andes as far as Potosí; he was also the statesman who framed the new republics and called the Congress of Panama in pursuit of his dream of uniting all the South American republics in a single confederation. He was, truly, the Liberator. This narrative by his friend and chief aide, Daniel Florencio O’Leary, has long been recognized by Spanish American scholars as one of the most important historical sources for a major part of Bolívar’s life. O’Leary took an active part in the wars for independence, first as a young officer recruited in the British Isles, and later was entrusted with diplomatic missions. His firsthand knowledge of the events of the period, his access to relevant documents, and his close association with major figures in the struggle made O’Leary a particularly valuable chronicler and biographer. Bolívar himself, shortly before his death, requested that O’Leary write the story of his life. O’Leary’s meticulous attention to military and diplomatic maneuvers and his keen, sometimes acrid, comments on both men and events give not only a vivid portrait of Bolívar—the man and his achievements—but also a remarkable insight into the autocratic-minded O’Leary. Though O’Leary’s devotion to, and admiration for, his Chief make for an occasionally partisan view, his stark account of the hardships and disappointments that Bolívar and his armies overcame against almost impossible odds does much to balance the narrative. In his abridged translation, Robert McNerney has omitted the Apéndice, documents that O’Leary, had he lived, undoubtedly would have used as the source for completing his account of Bolívar’s life. Numerous letters and documents scattered through the original text also have been omitted, leaving a highly readable biography.
Available since: 02/19/2014.
Print length: 385 pages.