China: The Long March

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Author: Anthony Lawrence
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The World's Great Photographers Retrace the Route on the Fiftieth Anniversary.In 1934 some 80,000 people, surrounded by the superior Nationalist forces of Chiang Kai-shek, broke out of the Jiangxi soviet and began what was to be a 6000-mile march.

China's entry into the twentieth century had been slow and painful. Hopes inspired by the overthrow of the Manchu dynasty in 1911 and the foundation of a democratic republic in 1912 under Sun Yat-sen had been dashed: the country was disunited and ravaged by warlords. The Chiniese Communist Party,founded in 1921, enjoyed limited support; however it was Guomindang leader Chiang Kai-shek's northern expedition in 1926 which unified China to some degree. Chiang attempted to restore order, but a corrupt regime left Communist forces, scattered though they were in strongholds in the mountains of Jiangxi province, largely unchecked. Not until 1934 did his tightening noose finally provoke the Communists to break out.

For twelve months the marchers suffered from bullets, bombs, malnutrition, disease, frostbitre and fatigue. Only a few thousand reached their final destination in Shaanxi province. Yet they and their leaders would march into Beijing in 1949 to set up the new People's Republic of China. The marchers could have had no inkling that they were part of an event that would be as significant to China as the French Revolution was to eighteenth-century Europe or the Civil War to nineteenth-century America.

In this unique publishing venture, some of the world's finest photographers retraced the route of the march, section by section, a journey which took them through parts of China's most rugged and inhospitable country.

China: The Long March takes its readers to the very places where history was made and provides an extraordinary portrait of China today, fifty years after the traumatic episode that shaped its history.

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