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The general reading public became familiar with Belden's name when his moving Retreat with Stilwell was published (Knopf - 1943). Then in 1944 came Still Time to Die (Harper - 1944). Belden had established himself as knowing a great deal about the inside picture in China through close association with Stilwell, and as having a crusading zeal on the side of settling things in other ways than war...Now- in China Shakes the World he presents the case for Communist China, again bluntly coming out on what may be an unpopular side. But his picture of China, inside the ""liberated areas"" under Communist control, and inside the areas where Chiang was fighting a losing battle to sustain his despotism, carries its own conclusions. In eight years' struggle against seemingly hopeless odds, the Communists have set up a new type of government (as different from Soviet Russia as from Kuomintang China) -- progressive democracy with free speech and free elections, composed of enlightened gentry and intellectuals, middle and small landlords, native capitalists, and not more than 1/3 communist party men. The battle lay between the big landlords and the peasants; the secret weapon was land reform, carried out on wholly individual -- not Russian- lines. Belden spent his time with the army, with the guerrillas, with the people; he met and learned to know the leaders; he tells his story in terms of personal experience and human anecdotes; he shows a primitive economy at work. A penetrating and absorbing book; controversial-partisan, yes- but convincing and encouraging, in showing how the new China is operating on its own- not Moscow-controlled- lines.

Pub Date: Oct. 19th, 1949
Publisher: Harper