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The Long March Paperback – 2 Mar 2006


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Product details

  • Paperback: 350 pages
  • Publisher: Constable (2 Mar. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845292553
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845292553
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.3 x 20 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 699,377 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'The Long March is brilliant from start to finish, and absolutely no one has paid me to say that.' -- China-Britain Business Review, June 1, 2006

A book that is simultaneously comic, adventurous, well informed
and occasionally tragic. -- June 06 Times Literary Supplement

Extraordinary picture of China, past and present -- Good Book Guide May 2006

Jocelyn and McEwen's physical reconstruction of the march is wonderfully gruelling reading. -- Financial Times

Paints an intriguing picture of the sort of China that Westerners
can find if they get off the tourist buses and out of the tourist cities to
where the ordinary people are. -- October 06, Herald, Jim Eagles

The Long March is brilliant from start to finish, and absolutely
no one has paid me to say that' - HK
-- China-Britain Business Review June 06

The authors have put together a first-rate, considered account of what happened, how and to what end. -- The Herald

The new accounts are enjoyable to read. They help convey the ordeals suffered by the marchers... -- The Economist

This remarkable study offers an extraordinary picture of China, past and present. -- Good Book Guide Monday 1 May

About the Author

Ed Jocelyn and Andrew McEwen have lived in China since 1997. Both gave up steady jobs in journalism to start the Long March project. Preparations are currently under way for the Long March II expedition, along an alternative historic route.

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By m mcewen-asker on 3 Mar. 2006
Format: Paperback
Put down your latte and your laptop, get your fingers dirty and spend some time learning about the 900 million people who represent the faceless majority. Sure beats picking up the latest handout at the State Council Information Office.
This is the true story of two men, a Brit and an Aussie, retracing the Red Army's footsteps and recording the experiences of
the last-remaining witnesses and participants of the Long March. Although, the oral history predominates, they also offer some fresh contemporary insights based on their own bizarre experiences.
As Jonathan Fenby said, they offer a picture of a China rarely seen by foreigners, "warts and all". For example, it's
pretty amazing that they were only arrested twice?
This is so important because I'm tired of reading reports about the "hot" "new" "China economic miracle".
I keep reading about the crass spending habits of the 1 percent of the 1 percent (educated, rich Shanghainese) and this is somehow supposed to represent the changes going on inside this vast and diverse nation. But as you may know, China is not a nation of 1.3 billion customers.
Can't wait for the 'photographic diary' to be released.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Laszlo Wagner on 30 July 2006
Format: Paperback
The "original" Long March was an epic movement of Mao's communist troops escaping from the Kuomintang in southern China to a "soviet" enclave in the north via the fringes of Tibetan highlands. It is possibly the best-known "heroic" event in the history of Chinese communism, having become almost "mythical" in its status/importance by today.

The authors are two journalists who have decided to try and compare the myth with the reality by retracing the Long March. Despite burocratic hurdles and the dearth of resources, they succeed to do so, meeting surviving eye-witnesses, and possibly even Mao's "long-lost daughter" along the way. They blend the story of their own march with the existing reports of the historic one all along, for one proving that the Long March did indeed happen in the first place.

This is fascinating enough for the history buff, but even if you aren't one, the book still holds plenty of interest.

Following a route through the rural backwaters of China no one else has done for decades, the march takes authors through extremely varied corners of this giant country, letting them provide fascinating insights into the mix of modernization and backwardness that is the China of today. From booming cities to minority villages steeped in dire poverty, from warm traditional welcome to hostile suspicion, they experience and expose it all, made all the more insightful by their excellent command of the Chinese language.

One of the very best "travelogues" I have ever read about any country, this book can only be most highly recommended.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ralph Milliband on 5 Mar. 2006
Format: Paperback
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. What a great way to understand how arduous the Long March was. Our two Westerners set out to emulate Mao, meeting survivors from the original march on the way.
A fascinating insight.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Susan on 30 April 2006
Format: Paperback
I didn't know very much about chinese recent history when I read this book, but I found it entertaining, and informative on 2 levels. The first being simply the details of the Long march and internal polotics of the Maoist faction. The second being how modern day rural China reacts to Westerners.

(And a very interesting section on Mao's Lost daughter)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ronald Jones on 24 Mar. 2007
Format: Paperback
It's been a long time since I enjoyed a book about China as much as this. My main criticism of The Long March is it's not long enough! I picked the book up a few months ago but I hadn't got around to reading it until last week. I sat down and read it all almost as quickly as I could and by the end, I was exhausted! But not nearly as exhausted as the authors themselves, who walked for more than a year along the original route of the long march - entirely on foot! Andy McEwen got so sick on the journey he had to go to hospital at one stage and his ongoing struggle mirrors the spirit of the original marchers.

What strikes me at the end of reading this now as I write this is not only the profound reflections which the authors offer about "the founding myth" of New China, but also the insightful collection of witty anecdotes about the state of contemporary rural China. I also enjoyed a brilliant deconstruction of some of the wild, outlandish claims made by Jung Chang and John Halliday in their recent Mao biography. I'd suggest anyone who is serious about China examine Jocelyn and McEwen's account of what was so wrong with that chapter of the Mao book.

Having also recently read the Long March by Sun Shuyun, I found there was a lot of inevitable common ground between the two works, but also some very important differences. Sun's account is occasionally touching and sometimes shocking. Like Jung Chang, she seems to feel betrayed by Mao and Communism. There seems to be a glut of these kinds of female Chinese authors. Overall I preferred this more objective, contemporary account. I especially liked the writing style, which contains a certain kind of British sense of humour. Their accounts of being arrested, for example, are very funny.
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