front cover of Che on My Mind
Che on My Mind
Margaret Randall
Duke University Press, 2013
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.
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front cover of Ramblin' on My Mind
Ramblin' on My Mind
New Perspectives on the Blues
Edited by David Evans
University of Illinois Press, 2007

This compilation of essays takes the study of the blues to a welcome new level. Distinguished scholars and well-established writers from such diverse backgrounds as musicology, anthropology, musicianship, and folklore join together to examine blues as literature, music, personal expression, and cultural product. Ramblin' on My Mind contains pieces on Ella Fitzgerald, Son House, and Robert Johnson; on the styles of vaudeville, solo guitar, and zydeco; on a comparison of blues and African music; on blues nicknames; and on lyric themes of disillusionment.

Contributors are Lynn Abbott, James Bennighof, Katharine Cartwright, Andrew M. Cohen, David Evans, Bob Groom, Elliott Hurwitt, Gerhard Kubik, John Minton, Luigi Monge, and Doug Seroff.

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Revolution on My Mind
Jochen Hellbeck
Harvard University Press, 2006

Revolution on My Mind is a stunning revelation of the inner world of Stalin’s Russia. We see into the minds and hearts of Soviet citizens who recorded their lives during an extraordinary period of revolutionary fervor and state terror. Writing a diary, like other creative expression, seems nearly impossible amid the fear and distrust of totalitarian rule; but as Jochen Hellbeck shows, diary-keeping was widespread, as individuals struggled to adjust to Stalin’s regime.

Rather than protect themselves against totalitarianism, many men and women bent their will to its demands, by striving to merge their individual identities with the collective and by battling vestiges of the old self within. We see how Stalin’s subjects, from artists to intellectuals and from students to housewives, absorbed directives while endeavoring to fulfill the mandate of the Soviet revolution—re-creation of the self as a builder of the socialist society. Thanks to a newly discovered trove of diaries, we are brought face to face with individual life stories—gripping and unforgettably poignant.

The diarists’ efforts defy our liberal imaginations and our ideals of autonomy and private fulfillment. These Soviet citizens dreamed differently. They coveted a morally and aesthetically superior form of life, and were eager to inscribe themselves into the unfolding revolution. Revolution on My Mind is a brilliant exploration of the forging of the revolutionary self, a study without precedent that speaks to the evolution of the individual in mass movements of our own time.

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