The Long March: The True History of Communist China's Founding Myth
The Long March is Communist China’s founding myth, the heroic tale that every Chinese child learns in school. Seventy years after the historical march took place, Sun Shuyun set out to retrace the Marchers’ steps and unexpectedly discovered the true history behind the legend. The Long March is the stunning narrative of her extraordinary expedition.
The facts are these: in
The author follows the path taken by those 200,000 plus soldiers who embarked on a grueling journey west and then north from Ruijin in 1934 interviewing the last remaining survivors of the March along the ...more
but it's nice that a Chinese person can write a book about that today.
I wish there'd been more photos of the route,
the image of the road out of Zunyi is nice,
but most photos are of 90 year old women.
Hard to believe, looking at the photos,
that they could get a young man to enlist in the Red army
by giving him a roll in the hay.
Mao was a dirty dog from start to finish,
it was China's sorrow that he became its leader.
While not brought up in China and drilled in the mythology of the Long March, as an American I have been influenced by the epic idea of the event through my knowledge of having relatives who have survived it (and also survived later purges, once the government was established). However, the details were s ...more
In 1934 some 200,000 communists were driven out of their bases in Jiangxi in the south of China by Chiang Kai-shek. Mao steered them like a Chinese Moses on a course from victory to victory. After two years of incredible endurance, courage, and hope against impossible odds – and a march of 8,000 miles – the Red Armies reached the barren Yellow Plateau of northwestern China. From there on they would need another decade to launch the new China. Enshrined for the nation in musical extravaganz ...more
Quoted below is my favorite paragraph:
''All my life, along with most Chinese, i thought of Zhang Guatao as an evil man, nailed as we may say, on the pillar of history's shame. The power struggle ended with Mao the winner, Zhang the loser. As the Chi ...more
It leaves you with the feeling that people's personal stories shaped the opinions of the author. It wasn't that the author had an agenda to defend or attack the Long March. In fact, she admires many of the people for what they survived through.
It also helps the reader understand why Chinese people can be so blinkered about their history. In sec ...more
Sun Shuyun is able to show that those CCP members who completed the March did actually create a signal achievement. She recounts exactly how difficult conditions were on the March and all the different types of difficulties th ...more
With issues like the Long March and Chinese Communism, the idea of objectiveness always comes up. I think she navigates this problem well, allowing the participants, most of whom, despite varied experience since the communists 1948 victory, think life was be ...more
This made for a quick, interesting read. I don't know that it held many surprises for me, but then, I can be quite cynical and jaded when it comes to history or politics. Not to mention ...more
Not even good as anti-communist propaganda since you still come away thinking "Wow, those people were pretty amazing. Mao clearly made the best of a really bad situation."
Sun Shuyun details the epic march and attempts to seperate folklore and myth from fact. Tracing the route of the march and speaking with veterans of both sides allows us a unique insight into the least well-known superpower.
See my full review here:
Unlike most audiobooks where I rewind if I missed a detail, I let this one keep rolling, rarely stopping to catch the details. After all, the book can be summed up like this: the Long March was hard, but not because of the ways China's traditional lore says it was hard. I finished it, but it isn't a book I'd recommend.