Sex and Revolution


  • Jack Belden



Sex, History, Movements, Inequality


The following is a chapter (slightly abbreviated) from Jack Belden's remarkable book China Shakes the World. First published in 1949, it has now been reissued by Monthly Review Press with a new introduction by Owen Lattimore, who ranks it as one of the three great classics by Americans about the Chinese Revolution (the others being Edgar Snow's Red Star Over China and William Hinton's Fanshen) and calls it a "neglected masterpiece." Jack Belden worked his way out to China as an able-bodied seaman and jumped ship in Hong Kong. "From the beginning," says Lattimore, "he seems to have distrusted the intelligentsia and to have had a fellowfeeling for the disinherited and the down-and-out. He was the man who knew what underemployed peasants, underpaid workers, and sullen soldiery did about sex and drink and drugs." The book which Belden produced, as the Communists were assuming full power throughout all of China, was indeed an unequalled panorama of the revolution as seen by the people themselves. We have chosen this chapter because it deals with the place of the women's struggle in the Revolution, and is therefore of special interest to today's developing movement for women's liberation. In the preceding chapter (too long for inclusion here but one which we hope all our readers will read), Belden has told the story of Gold Flower, a young woman who "turned over" and, aided by the women of her village, drove her husband out. —The Editors.

This article can also be found at the Monthly Review website, where most recent articles are published in full.

Click here to purchase a PDF version of this article at the Monthly Review website.