In October 1934, the First Front Army of the Chinese Communist Party fled annihilation by Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalists. Some 80,000 men, women and children left their homes to walk with Mao into the unknown. One year, 4,000 miles and countless battles later, fewer than 4,000 were left. From these survivors would grow the army that conquered China 14 years on, changing history for ever. In October 2002, Ed Jocelyn and Andrew McEwen set off to retrace the Red Army's footsteps and record the experiences of the last-remaining witnesses and participants of the Long March - before it's too late. The result is an account of the March based squarely on eye-witness accounts. It contrasts starkly with the official version and with recent contentions that the March was a fraud. The Long March really did happen, but it was spun into the key propaganda tool Mao wielded in his rise to ultimate power. China's past and present come vividly to life here in the authors' account of a historic event, a portrait of a changing society and their own long march.
Ed Jocelyn and Andrew McEwen met at university in England. They moved to China in 1997 -- Ed after completing a PhD in history, Andrew at the start of a successful career as a features editor in the USA. Both gave up steady jobs as editors -- Ed of New China Business, Andrew of Beijing Today -- to start the Long March project. They live in Beijing. Preparations are currently under way for the Long March II expedition, along an alternative historic route.