Page 4, 12th November 1937

12th November 1937
Page 4
Page 4, 12th November 1937 — Left Book CI

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Organisations: Book Club, Nanking Government
People: Edgar Snow, P. Bland


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Left Book CI

Diverting Propaganda

Red Star Over China. By Edgar Snow. (Gollancz, 12s. 6d.; Left Book Club, 2s. 6d.) That Red Star Over China is written with a violently anti-Japanese bias gees without saying, but when it comes to any sort of constructive solution of China's problems, beyond advocating Marxian Communism, which even Russia has had to discard as impracticable, it breaks down completely and degenerates into exceedingly diverting and skilful propaganda.

More than two-thirds of Mr. Snow's work is devoted to a detailed analysis of the Chinese Communist State, extremely interesting in itself as illustrating the binding effect of an idea; hatred of Japan does as much to keep Communism alive in China as the Marxian dialectic. In the early days or the Soviet Union, it was a deliberately fostered hatred of the Western Powers that played the same role and one cannot help asking if Chinese Communism won't soon be treading the same narrow path that leads to a dictatorship far worse than any Japan would wish to impose.

At the moment, the callous conduct of the war in the Near East and the fear of the loss of capital have tended to warp our judgment and Japan is treated as a bogey in spite of her promise, obviously to her advantage, that she will continue to respect the rights of other nations.

Should Communism triumph in China, this book makes it abundantly clear that those rights have every chance of being abolished. Mr. Snow makes no bones about admitting the help the Comintern has given and continues to give to the Communists but he is illogical in denouncing "Fascist Intervention " on behalf of the. Nanking Government—what is sauce for the Communist Goose, etc....

Although it is brilliantly and sincerely written, it is quite impossible to take this book seriously, nothing is said of the known excesses of the Reds, they are passed in almost complete silence, though the author fairly lets 'himself go when it comes to the Nanking Government and this really will not do in a work that is expected to be taken' seriously.

All the the usual phraseology is here; when the Reds do anything it is by " peaceful democratic methods." Nanking may massacre thousands, the Reds simply liquidate; they liquidate the landlords, the land and everything they dislike.

Were it not for the Chinese setting, this long essay on the Red State would apply equally well to Spain or Russia, and while it is certainly a book to be read, it should on no account be read alone but in conjunction with someone who's work is not so obviously partisan, and I can think of none better than Mr. J. 0. P. Bland, who has a far greater knowledge of Chinese affairs than the quick witted correspondent of the Daily Herald.

G. M.

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