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This book vividly describes the Chinese Revolution and the Korean Independence Movement from the inside, as seen, felt and experienced by a revolutionary who wonders about the meaning of life and shares mankind's urge to set things right in societies where the moral order has been smashed.
In a compound in Yenan, soon after the Japanese onslaught of July 7, 1937, 'Num Wales'-Helen Foster Snow-took down the words of 'Kim Sam', the former a young American journalist who knew she was in on one of the scoops of the century, the latter a Korean who has decided to struggle against the Japanese occupiers of his homeland by joining the Chinese Communists. He was old beyond his 32 years due to sickness, imprisonment, torture and private brought on by voluntary participation in the struggles against the decaying social system and the rising new order of foreign imperialism. In a moment of truth, this revolutionary revealed his innermost thoughts in a way few human beings do.
As a Korean member of the Chinese Communist party, Kim San was in a unique position to observe and report on the Chinese Revolution and its relation to movements in neighboring Korea and Japan.
But as important as this book is to those interested in the history of revolution in Asia, it directly alerts modern radicals to some of the questions any movement on the left must face: the relation between study and practice, love and revolution, ends vs. means. Beyond that, as a gripping tale of adventure it can enthrall even the most politically disinterested.
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