Red Star Over China

In This Review

Red Star Over China

By Edgar Snow
Victor Gollancz, 1937
464 pp.
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A journalistic scoop in 1937, this book has since become a historical classic. When Snow made his way through Nationalist lines to the barren reaches of Shensi Province in June 1936, the communists had only recently emerged, exhausted and decimated, from their 6,000-mile Long March. Snow found them developing the distinctive brand of communism that governed the lives of the Chinese people during the Maoist era and that only in recent years has begun to change under the impact of Deng Xiaoping's reforms. Many of the men Snow interviewed in 1936 were the first- generation leaders of communist China. The best-known section of the book is Mao's autobiography as related to Snow, which is still one of the most important documents on that subject. Another important section is the graphic description of the Long March. Snow's sympathetic portrayal of the Chinese communists is somewhat naive, however, and it exposed him to widespread criticism during the McCarthy years.