Revealing a personal story left untold for decades, Che Guevara’s widow, Aleida March, has broken her silence with the new memoir Remembering Che, the lead title from Ocean Press. While March will not be at BEA because she cannot enter the United States, her publisher will have advance reader copies available in the Consortium aisle (3910). There will also be a blad with examples of the 100 photographs from the family’s photo albums that are included in the book.
“It took many years of gentle persuasion for Aleida, a very private person, to become convinced to write her memoir, and she found the process extremely difficult and painful,” says Deborah Shnookal, Ocean Press publisher and cofounder, who will be at the show. “Aleida’s story reveals an entirely unknown side of Che Guevara, as a loving husband and devoted father.”
Remembering Che pulls back the curtain on lesser-known chapters of the revolutionary’s life, including March’s part in this story. The author grew up as the youngest in a poor family in rural Cuba and became a member of the underground movement against the Batista dictatorship while training to be a teacher. She met Guevara in 1958 on an assignment as a courier to the Escambray Mountains, only to have their time together cut short by his death in Bolivia in 1967. Now in her 70s, March lives in Havana with four children and numerous grandchildren.
Guevara’s public life as a political revolutionary is already a well-known story, due in no small part to the efforts of the Che Guevara Studies Center in Havana—where March currently serves as director—which has previously partnered with Ocean Press to publish Guevara’s writing. There have been two different film adaptations of Guevara’s story in the past decade. Walter Salles directed 2004’s The Motorcycle Diaries, based on Guevara’s journals, and in 2008 Steven Soderbergh’s two-part biopic, Che, was released. To coincide with the Soderbergh film, Ocean Press released a tie-in edition, Che: The Diaries of Ernesto Che Guevara, which collected journal entries, letters, and speeches used as inspiration for the film, and included commentary from the director and star, Benicio del Toro. Shnookal notes that the publisher is deeply committed to preserving Guevara’s legacy and proud of its role “in the task of publishing and maintaining the integrity of Che’s work.”