BATTLE HYMN OF CHINA by Agnes Smedley

BATTLE HYMN OF CHINA

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Again a book that belongs in this triangle -- it balances off the optimism of the Chiang Kai-Shek book, but -- alone -- would make one feel that China was a seething cauldron of unrest and unfair discrimination, and that the surface unity between the Kuomintang and the Red Army forces was scarcely skin deep. Miss Smedley gives some autobiographical background -- a childhood in a mining camp, the growing pains of difficult acquisition of education, a strange ""marriage"" to a high caste Brahmin, leader of Indian revolutionary activities, and her life as a correspondent, chiefly in China. Her book is, however, primarily an almost day-by-day record of the part played by the 19th Route Army; the guerrilla bands -- good and bad; the Szechuan Army -- and the leaders. She shows Chiang Kai-shek at the crossroads -- osing dictatorship. She claims never to have become a Communist, but her sympathies and interests definitely lie along the channels of the liberal forces of the new China, and she has cast her lot with the people's movement, social, industrial, political, military. She has made a generous contribution of time and effort to the cause of the wounded, and has spoken widely in interpretation of China. She traces the development of western China into a basis of resistance, and gives credit to careful planning. But she fears, deeply, the forces of reaction which she sees at work, with communist witch hunting, and a tide of anti-foreign feeling. A long book -- at times repetitive and wordy and biassed. But, taken with other books, it is a healthy contribution to better understanding.

Pub Date: Aug. 23rd, 1943
Publisher: Knopf