Reporting the Chinese Revolution: The Letters of Rayna Prohme

Reporting the Chinese Revolution: The Letters of Rayna Prohme

Gregor Benton, Baruch Hirson

Language: English

Pages: 216

ISBN: 0745326420

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


This is a unique account of the Chinese Revolution, seen through the eyes of American journalist Rayna Prohme. Prohme and her husband edited the Kuomintang's English-language newspaper in Wuhan. Her account of her intimate involvement in the Chinese Revolution brings to life the eventful Wuhan years of 1926-27. Her letters illuminate from a personal angle the battle for China's future. They include remarkable portraits of some of the people who shaped the Communist and Nationals movements of the time. The book consists of letters Prohme wrote to her closest friend and her husband in the period immediately before, during, and after the Wuhan Interlude. Her reporting brought her into contact with many major political figures, including Madam Sun Yat-sen (a prominent figure in the op position to Chiang Kai-shek) and Mikhail Borodin (a chief Soviet advisor in China). This book provides an unusual and often moving insight into a fascinating period in modern Chinese history.

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that she told me, that I’d like to have the two of you probe. I do wish she would get back to S[an] F[rancisco], but there is little hope of it for some months, it seems. Well, old dear, I, too, would give a lot for some evenings at 86 Shasta Road with the sweep of Berkeley and the Bay out of the window and the clean sky above. I wish I weren’t so interested in China. I miss you and Berkeley terribly. My love always, Rayna Shasta Road today is a long serpentine street in north Berkeley that

goes through the news agency. He says that Chen is assured, unworried. But I wish the next few days were over. I go to sleep at night and dream of the flotillas of gunboats that are on their way. In my dreams they form a long, black line all the way from Gibraltar. Gunboats are grey, of course, but not in my dreams. God, what a fleet I create for England when my mind goes on unchecked. Arthur Ransome is here and I had a thrill meeting him. I had wanted to for so many years. He came up to

arrange it before too many months go by. Curiously, you know, my latest experiences with the lady and uncle make me feel uninterested, in fact a slight aversion, to returning. What can one tie to. Of course the answer is simple. One can tie to the only elements which amount to anything in this movement – the elements we never really knew. But the particular pegs upon which we pinned faith Hirson 02 chap06 138 14/6/07 15:03:37 MOSCOW 139 enthusiasm and loyalty, can’t hold up anything any

barracks on the hill coming along? Do you still worry about each other’s complexes? Or have you outgrown that sort of infantilism and begun to be interested in the social and economic realities of the world? I was visited yesterday, very briefly, by a Chicago psychiatrist who knew Rayna in high school and at college, and knew the family in Chicago very well. He is connected, I believe, with the medical school at either Chicago or Northwestern. A nice sort of egg he seems, but probably full of

relationship with Rayna – all about it’. Just how much did Rayna disclose to Sheean? We can never know, but surely it would be unwise to take the word of a man so headover-heels in love. He wanted Rayna’s affection and, since he himself had become profoundly disillusioned in the U.S.S.R. and its propaganda, he wanted to keep this woman he loved from becoming a professional revolutionary. He sensed the desperation Rayna felt in having to make a choice. She had been told by her one-time hero,

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