My Life with Che: The Making of a Revolutionary

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Overview

Che Guevara's first wife, Hilda Gadea, paints a personal portrait of the legendary figure, revealing his lesser known side as a romantic wanderer, a philosopher and doting suitor and father. Ernesto Guevara and Hilda Gadea met in Guatemala as members of the political-exile community. Later they were forced to flee to Mexico, where their relationship grew stronger and where, stimulated by Hilda, Che's convictions were shaped. In Hilda's account, their life together is filled with joy, and the excitement of ...

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My Life with Che: The Making of a Revolutionary

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Overview

Che Guevara's first wife, Hilda Gadea, paints a personal portrait of the legendary figure, revealing his lesser known side as a romantic wanderer, a philosopher and doting suitor and father. Ernesto Guevara and Hilda Gadea met in Guatemala as members of the political-exile community. Later they were forced to flee to Mexico, where their relationship grew stronger and where, stimulated by Hilda, Che's convictions were shaped. In Hilda's account, their life together is filled with joy, and the excitement of involvement with the Castros and other Cuban refugees. Gadea was with Guevara during a tumultuous period in his life, which turned him from an intellectual theorist to a dedicated revolutionary. Against this backdrop, she offers insight into their long courtship, five years of marriage, and the birth of their daughter, Hildita. Gradually the character of this influential leader is revealed by the woman who knew him best, providing a vital key to the comprehension of Che's legendary qualities.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“A candid, serious memoir by the iconic revolutionary’s first wife. . . . An intelligent, tender look at Guevara’s human side.” — Kirkus reviews

"This is a vital book for anyone wishing to understand more about the late Argentine revolutionary. Vivid, intimate and uncensored, My Life with Che picks up Guevara's story where The Motorcycle Diaries left off, taking us, via his first marriage to Hilda Gadea, through his extraordinary transformation from bohemian adventurer to Marxist Revolutionary. A refreshing and engrossing read." — Jon Lee Anderson, bestselling author of NYT Notable Book, Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life

"Che Guevara is our Jesus Christ: an idealist, a martyr, a redeemer around whom a religion has sprung, first spontaneously, then officially. Hilda Gadea's memoir is the gospel according to Mary Magdalene—an impassionate, first-hand account of the emblematic leader. We come across a Che that is, at once, small and larger-than-life. So we bow in reverence!" —Ilan Stavans, best-selling author of The Hispanic Condition and Spanglish

"Gadea's life story is not as well known as her husband's, but in many ways it was even more extraordinary than that of the famous revolutionary. A political refugee from Peru, she was exiled not once but twice — first to Guatemala and later to Mexico. Frequently harassed and jailed by the police for her political beliefs, Gadea’s stoic resolve in the face of great odds was remarkable. My Life With Che is a revealing, compelling insider look at the life of Che Guevara, at the corrupt and compliant right wing authorities who did Washington's bidding in South America, and at a daring group of Latin American revolutionaries who dedicated their lives to the furtherance of a higher cause." — Nikolas Kozloff, author of Revolution!: South America and the Rise of the New Left and Hugo Chavez: Oil, Politics, and the Challenge to the U.S.

"My Life with Che offers an intimate look at one of the most influential figures of the Cuban Revolution. The story of Che's life has become inseparable from the myth, and this book sheds new light on the man from the unique perspective of his first wife Hilda Gadea.” - Alfredo José Estrada, author of Havana: Autobiography of a City

"Gadea’s insights into the thinking and behavior of the young Che, and the Castro brothers during their exile in Mexico in the mid-1950s, are of great historical value. Che was then perfecting his Marxist beliefs but Raul Castro was already a great admirer of the Soviet Union. Gadea reveals too that Fidel espoused a radical internationalist agenda that he concealed from the Cuban people until after his victory. Essential reading for anyone interested in the Cuban revolution." —Brian Latell, author of After Fidel: Raul Castro and the Future of Cuba’s Revolution and Senior Research Associate in Cuban Studies at the University of Miami

"Always be capable of feeling most deeply any injustice committed against anyone, anywhere in the world. This is the most beautiful quality in a revolutionary."—Che Guevara, in his last letter to his children

Kirkus Reviews
A candid, serious memoir by the iconic revolutionary's first wife. Gadea met Ernesto Guevara-the nickname "Che" came later-in Guatemala on December 20, 1953. She was a Peruvian political exile working as a government economist; he was a recent medical-school graduate eager to travel and learn about Latin American politics before returning to his native Argentina. A kinship developed between the like-minded two, as they shared Marxist tomes and ideas on how to resist the imperialist oligarchies controlling most of Latin America. Guevara favored the Soviet and Chinese models for a more just society and fervently espoused Sartre and Freud; Gadea introduced him to Walt Whitman's poetry, helped him find a job and put off his entreaties to get married. It was through Gadea, she claims quite plausibly, that Guevara met the group of Cubans who had participated in the famous July 26, 1953, assault on the Moncada Barracks in Santiago, among them Raul and Fidel Castro. Gadea was briefly jailed after a CIA-backed military coup overthrew Guatemala's liberal president in January 1954, and the couple fled to Mexico City, where they reunited with the Castro brothers. The coup convinced them all that only armed struggle could liberate the people, and they began to plan the assault on Cuba's Batista regime that led to the revolutionaries' historic triumph in 1959. Gadea and Guevara married and had a daughter, Hildita, but the revolution ultimately separated them. He boarded the Granma in November 1956 for Castro's audacious invasion of Cuba, and by the time Gadea finally arrived in Havana in 1959, Guevara had another woman; they divorced five months later. Gadea died in 1974, and the text offers noinformation about when this memoir was originally published or why this English-language version is now available. An intelligent, tender look at Guevara's human side. See also second wife Aleida March's just-published (in Spanish) Evocation.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780230606012
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 7/22/2008
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 8.24 (w) x 10.88 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Hilda Gaeda was the first female Secretary of the Economy for the Executive National Committee for the American Popular Revolutionary Alliance in Peru but was exiled in 1948. She worked for the Guatemalan government as an economist and lived in Mexico and Cuba advancing the same revolutionary politics as Che. She passed away in Havana in 1974

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