The Long March

29 Nov, 2018 950 History of Asia

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss a foundation story for China as it was reshaped under Mao Zedong. In October 1934, around ninety thousand soldiers of the Red Army broke out of a siege in Jiangxi in the south east of the country, hoping to find a place to regroup and rebuild. They were joined by other armies, and this turned into a very long march to the west and then north, covering thousands of miles of harsh and hostile territory, marshes and mountains, pursued by forces of the ruling Kuomintang for a year. Mao Zedong was among the marchers and emerged at the head of them, and he ensured the officially approved history of the Long March would be an inspiration and education for decades to come.

Play on BBC Sounds website


  • Rana Mitter 7 episodes
    Professor of the History and Politics of Modern China and Fellow of St Cross College, University of Oxford
  • Sun Shuyun No other episodes
    Historian, writer of 'The Long March' and film maker
  • Julia Lovell 6 episodes
    Professor in Modern Chinese History and Literature at Birkbeck, University of London

Reading list

  • Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai and the Evolution of the Chinese Communist Leadership
    Thomas Kampen (NIAS Press, 1999) Google Books →
  • The Long March: The Untold Story
    Harrison E. Salisbury (McGraw-Hill, 1987) Google Books →
  • The Long March: The True History of Communist China's Founding Myth
    Sun Shuyun (Doubleday Books, 2007) Google Books →
  • Red Star Over China: The Classic Account of the Birth of Chinese Communism
    Edgar Snow (Grove Press, 2018) Google Books →

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