Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
My Life with Che

My Life with Che

The Making of a Revolutionary

Hilda Gadea

St. Martin's Press



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.


Praise for My Life with Che

“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

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Hilda Gadea

Hilda Gadea 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

Hilda Gadea

Hilda Gadea

From the Publisher

St. Martin's Press

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