Red Star Over China, a book by Edgar Snow, is an account of the Communist Party of China written when they were an obscure guerrilla army.


In Red Star Over China, Edgar Snow recounts the months that he spent with China’s Chinese Red Army during the Civil War. The book has biographical accounts of a number of persons on both sides of the conflicts, including Mao Zedong; contains a vivid description of the Long March; and encapsulates the life of China of 1930s.

It contains Mao's own account of his life, as well as descriptions of Zhou Enlai and Peng Dehuai. Also a little about Lin Biao and some vivid descriptions of other Chinese personalities, as well as the Long March.

When Snow wrote, no outsider had much idea of what was going on in the Communist-controlled areas of China or who the main personalities were. And Snow also saw history in the making. The Xi'an Incident occurred while he was there. His view—which was probably correct—is that the imprisonment of Chiang Kai-Shek by his own generals ensured that Nationalist China fought Japan rather than capitulating.

He produced a revised edition which appeared in 1972, shortly after his death. His own view of the context is:

The Western powers, in self-interest, were hoping for a miracle in China. They dreamed of a new birth of nationalism that would keep Japan so bogged down that she would never be able to turn upon the Western colonies—her true objective. Red Star Over China tended to show that the Chinese Communists could indeed provide that nationalist leadership needed for effective anti-Japanese resistance. How dramatically the United States' policy-making attitudes have altered since then […]
It provided not only for non-Chinese readers, but also for the entire Chinese people—including all but the Communist leaders themselves—the first authentic account of the Chinese Communist Party and the first connected story of their long struggle to carry through the most thoroughgoing social revolution in China's three millenniums of history. Many editions were published in China […] (Red Star Over China, Preface to the Revised Edition.)

The revised version was one product of Snow's 1970 visit, in which he also helped with the normalisation of relations between China and the United States.

A new edition was published in May 2006, entitled Red Star Over China - The Rise Of The Red Army. (ISBN 1-4067-9821-5).

External links Edit

  • Snow's 4-chapter biography of Mao can be found here [1], here [2] and here [3].
  • There has also been a Chinese screen adaptation [4], which was however rejected by Edgar Snow's widow [5].

no:Rød stjerne over Kina

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