In 1960, Cuban photographer Alberto Korda captured fabled revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara in what has become history's most reproduced photo. Now Michael Casey tells the remarkable story of this image, detailing its evolution from a casual snapshot to an omnipresent graphic—plastered on everything from T-shirts to vodka to condoms—and into a copyrighted brand. As Casey follows it across the Americas and through cyberspace, he finds governments exploiting it and their dissenters attacking it, merchants selling it and tourists buying it. We see how this image is, ultimately, a mercurial icon that still ignites passion—and a reflection of how we view ourselves.
In this bracing and keenly observed book, Mr. Casey traces how Korda's photograph became one of the most widely disseminated images in the world…Although newspaper and magazine articles have traversed this ground before, none have done so with the thoroughness and globe-trotting ardor of Che's Afterlife. Mr. Casey has written a book that is not only a cultural history of an image, but also a sociopolitical study of the mechanisms of fame. It is a book about how ideas travel and mutate in this age of globalization, how concepts of political ideology have increasingly come to be trumped by notions of commerce and cool and chic, and how the historical Che Guevara gave way, post-mortem, to a host of other Ches