Oldest Autobiography of Mao Zedong Discovered

Experts believe a newly discovered copy of Mao Zedong's autobiography, published in September 1937, is the oldest known version of the book.

The white-covered volume was found in Yongkang, east China's Zhejiang Province, and housed by a local government official who declined to be named.

Published by the Hankou-based Anti-Japanese Publishing House, the book's copyright date is September 1937, two months earlier than another version found in Xi'an earlier this year.

The Autobiography of Mao Zedong was written by American author Edgar Snow, based on Mao's own narration, and translated into Chinese by Li Du, about whom nothing is available.

This book has 89 pages and four chapters, dealing with Mao as an adolescent and a middle-aged man, the rise of the Communist Party of China, and the struggle against the Kuomintang, and the Long March.

A short biography of Mao's second wife, He Zizhen, and three of Mao's articles are included in the appendix.

The white cover of the book features Mao's profile in black on the upper right corner, along with the title, and names of the author and translator.

The contents of the book are nearly the same with the fourth and fifth chapters of Snow's Red Star Over China, the English version of which was first published in October 1937 in London, and the Chinese version in February 1938, in Shanghai.

Experts say the discovery of the book has solved the ongoing question in the research of Mao, that is, which book Snow wrote first -- Mao's autobiography or Red Star Over China.

(People's Daily 07/12/2001)

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