OAKLAND, CA September 8, 2004 — Brazilian director Walter Salles’ latest movie, ‘The Motorcycle Diaries,’ promises to boost sales of Mi Moto Fidel: Motorcycling Through Castro’s Cuba, Christopher P. Baker’s award-winning literary mirror-image of the Salle movie. Mi Moto Fidel provides a perfect companion reader to the movie, due for release on September 24, 2004.
Mi Moto Fidel, the top essay writer at National Geographic Adventure Press, 2001, has been widely acclaimed for its deeply-scored portraits and penetrating analysis. “This is a wonderful adventure book…a meditation on philosophy, politics, and the possibilities of physical love. It has the depth of a novel and the feeling of a great love story,” commented the Lowell Thomas Award judges.
Based on an adaptation of Che Guevara’s account of his six-month odyssey around South America in 1952 on a 500cc Norton motorcycle, ‘The Motorcycle Diaries’ reveals the youthful Argentinian’s extraordinary coming of age in a rite of passage that parallels that of Mi Moto Fidel. Baker’s own motorcycle diary – winner of both the 2002 Lowell Thomas Award “Travel Book of the Year” and the “Grand Prize” in the North American Travel Journalist Association’s Awards of Excellence – records the author’s own emotionally and erotically charged three-month, 7,000-mile peregrination through Cuba, undertaken in 1996 on a 1,000cc BMW motorcycle.
The film, starring Mexican actor Gael García Bernal as the young Che Guevara, depicts how Che’s journey sparked a dawning of his social conscience that would propel the future guerrilla leader into a revolutionary icon worldwide. Che’s tilt toward communism found its full blossoming when he became Cuba’s Minister of Finance & Industry following the triumph of the Cuban revolution in 1959. Four decades later, Baker’s journey through the forbidden, adoptive island of Che spawns its own epiphanies, resulting in a remarkable travelog that Jon Lee Anderson, author of Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life, calls “a bittersweet glimpse of life inside the last Marxist utopia.”
“Philosophically Che and I started at a similar reference point; ultimately, by contrast, my own Cuban journey tilted me the other way,” writes Baker, winner of numerous literary awards and the author of five books about Cuba, including the recently-released Cuba Classics: A Celebration of Vintage American Automobiles.