The heroic events that began the Communist era in China are recounted by a favorite author (herself born in China) who has written a distinguished list of books on American history for children. Basing her anecdotal saga on interviews with a dozen of the remaining 600 survivors of the March as well as on books included in an extensive bibliography, Fritz uses authentic details to make the hardships and triumphs immediate and personal: a bridge anchored by an instant innovation born of necessity--bamboo baskets weighted with stones; Mao, too sick to walk, writing a letter for a homesick, illiterate soldier; a whole army disguised as the enemy Nationalists, marching along one side of a river while the real Nationalists kept pace on the other. Fritz makes vivid the poverty and despair provoked by grasping landlords that gave this army, largely made up of peasants, such dogged perseverance. The epic crossing of the high mountains on the borders of Tibet and the treacherous, trackless "Grasslands" make an inspirational story worthy of the place it still holds in the Chinese imagination. The account concludes with a brief summary of subsequent history: the alliance with the Nationalists to drive out the Japanese, the postwar accession to power and the successes of the Communist regime, the tragedy of the Cultural Revolution. This vivid account should go a long way towards making a radically different, vitally important country more comprehensive to American children; it belongs in every library.