Agnes Smedley, the life and times of an American radical /
Janice R. MacKinnon, Stephen R. MacKinnon.
Berkeley : University of California Press, c1988.
xi, 425 p., [32] p. of plates : ill., ports.
0520059662 (alk. paper)
More Details
added author
Berkeley : University of California Press, c1988.
0520059662 (alk. paper)
general note
Includes index.
catalogue key
Bibliography: p. 389-404.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 1987-12:
Smedley emerged from hard poverty to become a writer, a participant in Margaret Sanger's birth control movement, and a self-appointed warrior for the poor and powerless. As a journalist, she traveled with the Red Army in China in the 1930s and wrote vivid accounts of the Chinese. Some regarded this flamboyant woman as a martyr, others as a dangerous Communist spy (she was not a party member). She had many friends and lovers but could not agree with anyone for long. The authors have examined an impressive array of sources. They succeed in effectively portraying a larger-than-life woman in a time of upheaval. Mary Drake McFeely, Univ. of Georgia Libs., Athens (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Choice on 1988-05:
Agnes Smedley (1892-1950) had been a shadowy figure in discussions of contemporary radical Americans before publication of MacKinnon's comprehensive study. The daughter of poor Missouri farmers who moved to Colorado when she was a child, Smedley became a participant in one of this century's great struggles: China's revolution. The route to China in the 1930s began in New York c. 1910, where she met Lajpat Rai, a leader in the movement for Indian nationalism. During the 1920s, Smedley lived in Berlin with another prominent Indian reformer, Virendranath Cattopadhyaya. Early in 1929, she became a witness, reporter, and sympathizer for Mao's struggles; she made lifelong friendships with many Chinese, including Zhu De, the commander of the Chinese Communist army. After her return to the US in May 1941, Smedley became embroiled in the hot debate about China policy. Harassed by the FBI and by former friends who had become rabid anti-Communists, she left the country at the end of 1949 and died in May 1950. MacKinnon's biography offers students of American feminism, radicalism, and world history an informative and useful look at these topics through the personal lens of an interesting and impressive woman. General and academic readership, upper-division undergraduate level and above.-J. Sochen, Northeastern Illinois University
This item was reviewed in:
Kirkus Reviews,
Booklist, November 1987
Library Journal, December 1987
Choice, May 1988
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Long Description
Country school teacher, birth control pioneer, socialist journalist, freedom fighter, writer--Agnes Smedley (1892-1950) was on the battlefront of American politics, the Indian struggle for independence, and the Chinese Communist revolution. In this coherent, intelligible, and engaging book, the MacKinnons offer us a superb portrayal of one of the most significant female political figures in recent American history.

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