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Although I appriciate this book, the merits of the book itself are arguable. The tone is much more anecdotal than academic, and although this may leave many questions unanswered and assumptions unquestioned, there is certainly value in it. The mythology and the politics of the Long March cannot be dispelled by one book, but it does seem to be a useful attempt with many very interesting insights, particularly as the Long March generation are simply no longer with us.
What is absolutely inexcusable and makes this an audiobook that I cannot recommend is the fact that the reader, while having a pleasant voice and good manner, does not speak Chinese. She seems merely to have been briefly coached in tones and pronunciation which only serves to bring her attempts into the surreal.
Her pronunciation of the place names and people involved are at best confusing even to one who knows the material fairly well. At worst, because she doesn't read with accuracy, her pronunciation shifts and identical places and people seem to be two or more
This is extremely unfortunate. I only wish there were more accessible books on Chinese history.
9 of 10 people found this review helpful
This is a thoroughly researched book, and very well-read. But unless one is very familiar not just with the Chinese Revolution of Mao, but also the details of the Long March, much of it will be lost. Because I drive to work each day, I did end up listening to the whole thing, and I did indeed learn much compared to what I knew (which was very little). But I believe the real interest in the book, and the reason the author wrote it was to reveal the realities of the Long March as a complex, difficult and sometimes horribly unfair political process, in comparison to the glorious, positive and uplifting engine of societal change that the official history would have one believe. It validates the old Chinese proverb warning one to not live in "interesting times", but this reader/listener was not nearly well-versed enough to gain all that the excellent author put into the creation of this history.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful