My First Revolution (Signature Books)

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9781891936012: My First Revolution (Signature Books)

In the summer of 1948, Winthrop Knowlton and his friend, James C. Thomson, Jr., just graduated from prep school, set out for China.

During the next nine months they would travel throughout revolution-torn China as Mao Tse-tung's Communist forces moved ever southward fighting Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist armies in their retreat to Formosa. Separated by the war, they rejoined in South China and continued their journey -- their revolution around the world -- by freighter to a Europe still reeling from World War II, and across the Atlantic back home.

Knowlton's memoir tells a magnificent story of that remarkable time. The story closes with Knowlton's return to China in 1979 at the head of an American publishing delegation, a retrospective look at the events of 1948-49 giving the book still another historical and human dimension.

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About the Author:

Winthrop Knowlton has been a partner at White, Weld & Co., a US Treasury official, President of Harper & Row Publishers and the New York City Ballet, and a professor at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He is now a money manager who lives and works in New York City.

From Library Journal:

Some travel stories can survive a 53-year hiatus without being published, especially if the author has exceptional powers of memory and observation. But although former investment banker, book publisher, and university professor Knowlton is a skilled storyteller, this slim account of his youth in post-World War II China lacks the depth necessary to sustain most readers' interest. If the entire volume were limited to the time he spent in China, readers would be able to re-create the images of the countryside and cities like Beijing, Canton, and Nanking in 1948. But Knowlton often breaks the flow of the narrative by speculating about his family affairs (East Coast and privileged) and his search for self. His traveling companion was the son of Presbyterian missionary educators who worked in China for 30-plus years, and their story gives some weight to the narrative. The two friends end the adventure by heading back to the United States via Europe; in tone this part of the narrative resembles F. Scott Fitzgerald's writing. Though a pleasant and breezy read, this is recommended only for extensive travel collections. Janet Ross, formerly with Sparks Branch Lib., NV

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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