One of the most important Latin American leaders of the twenty-first century, Hugo Chávez was a military officer who became a left-wing revolutionary. This book tells the story of his life until the moment he was elected President in 1998. His energy and charisma shine throughout the riveting and historically important story of his early years, describing how he slowly uncovered the reality of his country - hugely unequal, with the majority of its citizens living in indescribably impoverished conditions - and decided that he had to do something about it. Among other things, it is a fascinating account of his long-planned military conspiracy - the most significant in the history of Venezuela and perhaps of Latin America - that led up to his unsuccessful coup of 1992, and eventually to his popular electoral victory in 1998. His collaborator on this book is Ignacio Ramonet, the famous left-wing French journalist (and Editor for many years of Le Monde Diplomatique), who undertook a similar task with Fidel Castro, My Life.