In This Review

Agnes Smedley: The Life And Times Of An American Radical
Agnes Smedley: The Life And Times Of An American Radical
By Janice MacKinnon and Stephen R. MacKinnon
University of California Press, 1987, 425 pp.

The product of years of research on three continents, this is an enthralling biography of a dedicated and romantic American left-wing journalist and activist. The authors skillfully blend a thorough grasp of the first half of the century with a sensitive use of psycho-biographical techniques. Agnes Smedley (1892-1950), reared in working-class poverty in the American West, worked first among radicals in Weimar Germany, and then in the 1930s and 1940s was a friend and associate of the Chinese Communist leadership. Her ashes are buried beneath a monument to her memory in Beijing.