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  • Che on My Mind

    Author(s): Margaret Randall
    Published: 2013
    Pages: 160
    Illustrations: 16 photographs
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  • Acknowledgments  ix
    1. A Death That Leads Us Back to Life  1
    2. In Cuba, Where Our Lives Came Together in the Everyday  11
    3. Multiple Prisms  19
    4. Conflicting Versions  29
    5. "Socialism and Man in Cuba"  35
    6. Tender Heart and Rigorous Moral Code  43
    7. Empowerment of the Erotic  51
    8. How the Man Was Made  59
    9. Che and Fidel  67
    10. Che and Haydée  75
    11. Exercising Power, Exercising Solidarity  87
    12. The Question without an Answer  95
    13. War and Peace  99
    14. Revolution and Religion  115
    15. Che's Legacy for Today's Activists  125
    16. Poetry Closes the Circle and Opens Infinite Circles  133
    Notes  139
    Bibliography  147
  • “Hundreds of books have been written about Che; the facts are documented, the myth celebrated. But with, as she calls it, ‘the intuition of a poet,’ Randall has created something unique – a compelling personal contemplation, an exploration of ‘the intimacy that has stayed with me all these years.’” — Robert Woltman, Albequerque Journal

    “[A] series of reflections that alternately encompass personal reminiscence, biography, political analysis, nuggets of historical information, feminist hindsight and even poetry. . . . As with any good conversation, this book leaves the reader stimulated and enlightened with new questions to ponder.  . . . We are simply listeners, treated to a very rich personal rendition of [Randall’s] own private tune of Che on my mind.” — Sheyla Hirshon, Havana Times

    Che On My Mind stands not only as an arresting discussion of an enigmatic historical figure, but also as a testament to Randall’s own ability to fuse the observations of anti-imperialism and feminism into a formidable political and cultural concoction.”
    — Nick Witham, LSE Review of Books

    “In this book, Randall lends a critical eye, not only to Guevara’s political legacy but to the man as a whole. We get a unique and truly personal take on Guevara’s relationships, integrity, personal struggles and aspirations from a person who has read just about every other book written on “el Che.” So, she decided to write her own.”
    — Hakim Bellamy, Local iq

    Che on My Mind is a 160-page tour-de-force in which, with her poetic and visual sensibility, she considers Che Guevara's life and legacy. The slim tome is also a meditation on how her own beliefs on revolution have changed, a prose poem on the vicissitudes of protest, courage, and the tricks of time.”
    — Jenny McPhee, Bookslut

    “These personal essays on and acute observations of Che Guevara’s legacy achieve insight into his enduring appeal to young revolutionaries.” — Edward Morris, Foreword Reviews

    “A well-written, brief reflection on Guevara and his time that will interest historians and social theorists.” — Boyd Childress, Library Journal

    Reviews

  • “Hundreds of books have been written about Che; the facts are documented, the myth celebrated. But with, as she calls it, ‘the intuition of a poet,’ Randall has created something unique – a compelling personal contemplation, an exploration of ‘the intimacy that has stayed with me all these years.’” — Robert Woltman, Albequerque Journal

    “[A] series of reflections that alternately encompass personal reminiscence, biography, political analysis, nuggets of historical information, feminist hindsight and even poetry. . . . As with any good conversation, this book leaves the reader stimulated and enlightened with new questions to ponder.  . . . We are simply listeners, treated to a very rich personal rendition of [Randall’s] own private tune of Che on my mind.” — Sheyla Hirshon, Havana Times

    Che On My Mind stands not only as an arresting discussion of an enigmatic historical figure, but also as a testament to Randall’s own ability to fuse the observations of anti-imperialism and feminism into a formidable political and cultural concoction.”
    — Nick Witham, LSE Review of Books

    “In this book, Randall lends a critical eye, not only to Guevara’s political legacy but to the man as a whole. We get a unique and truly personal take on Guevara’s relationships, integrity, personal struggles and aspirations from a person who has read just about every other book written on “el Che.” So, she decided to write her own.”
    — Hakim Bellamy, Local iq

    Che on My Mind is a 160-page tour-de-force in which, with her poetic and visual sensibility, she considers Che Guevara's life and legacy. The slim tome is also a meditation on how her own beliefs on revolution have changed, a prose poem on the vicissitudes of protest, courage, and the tricks of time.”
    — Jenny McPhee, Bookslut

    “These personal essays on and acute observations of Che Guevara’s legacy achieve insight into his enduring appeal to young revolutionaries.” — Edward Morris, Foreword Reviews

    “A well-written, brief reflection on Guevara and his time that will interest historians and social theorists.” — Boyd Childress, Library Journal

  • "Thoughtfully exploring the complex and contested record of the life and work of Che Guevara, Margaret Randall—with, as she says, 'the intuition of a poet'—presents a compelling personal meditation on a figure who has inspired legions of people, young and old, throughout the world who seek to struggle for a more just and decent human existence." — Noam Chomsky

    "In Che on My Mind, the poet Margaret Randall, who was one of the founders of the influential sixties bilingual journal El Corno Emplumado (The Plumed Horn), assesses Che Guevara's enduring influence while confronting her own doubts and uncertainties over his justification of violence and armed struggle. She asks whether we can admire Guevara's commitment and generosity of spirit and still disagree with war as a strategy. Acknowledging that her own attitudes to Che have changed with age, her book is a frank assessment of Che's failures of judgment as well as of his charisma, and of his contradictory status as both saint and cowboy." — Jean Franco, author of Cruel Modernity

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  • Description

    Che on My Mind is an impressionistic look at the life, death, and legacy of Che Guevara by the renowned feminist poet and activist Margaret Randall. Recalling an era and this figure, she writes, "I am old enough to remember the world in which [Che] lived. I was part of that world, and it remains a part of me." Randall participated in the Mexican student movement of 1968 and eventually was forced to leave the country. She arrived in Cuba in 1969, less than two years after Che's death, and lived there until 1980. She became friends with several of Che's family members, friends, and compatriots. In Che on My Mind she reflects on his relationships with his family and fellow insurgents, including Fidel Castro. She is deeply admiring of Che's integrity and charisma and frank about what she sees as his strategic errors. Randall concludes by reflecting on the inspiration and lessons that Che's struggles might offer early twenty-first-century social justice activists and freedom fighters.

    About The Author(s)

    Margaret Randall, born in New York in 1936, is a feminist poet, writer, photographer, and social activist. After living in Mexico, Cuba, and Nicaragua since the 1960s, she attempted to return to the United States in 1984. Randall had inadvertently lost her U.S. citizenship when she acquired the citizenship of her Mexican husband in 1967. The U.S. government refused to reinstate her citizenship after finding opinions expressed in some of her books to be "against the good order and happiness of the United States." The Center for Constitutional Rights defended Randall, and many writers and others joined in an almost five-year battle for reinstatement of her citizenship. She won her case in 1989. In 1990 she was awarded the Lillian Hellman and Dashiell Hammett grant for writers victimized by political repression. Randall is the author of more than eighty books, including the oral histories Cuban Women Now, Sandino's Daughters, and When I Look into the Mirror and See You: Women, Terror, and Resistance. A documentary, The Unapologetic Life of Margaret Randall, was released in 2001. Randall lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.