Saturday, April 18, 2009

China's Long March

by Jean Fritz

In 1934, the Chinese Communist First Front Army began a strategic retreat from the Chinese Nationalist forces which resulted in a hard, 6,000 mile trek through the countryside of western China. This is known as the Long March and is quite a remarkable story of struggle, perseverance and triumph. If it's true, that is. Having read Jung Chang's Mao, I approached Ms. Fritz's account of the Long March with some skepticism. Her take on it is not so critical, at least to judge it at face value. Sometimes I wonder if she might not have been applying the <sarcasm> tag. But that's a mystery for another time. The book did draw me in, but only because the tale itself is so compelling. I really didn't care for Ms. Fritz's style. Instead of simply reporting the events in third person or telling the tale through the eyes of a fictional character, she tried to report the tale peppered with recollections of the participants she was able to interview. The problem was, sometimes she didn't have any recollections to use, so she resorted to lines like "Perhaps... the survivors of the First Front Army wondered about their comrades in the Fourth." But if you can forgive such transgressions, China's Long March does make a suitable introduction to a memorable event in human history.

Um, check it out, but only if you can't find a better account.
LibraryThing link

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