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Intoduction and assorted Book Review Comments

FROM THE BOOK JACKET OF   "THE CHINA STORY"  (Henry Regnery Company, Chicago, 1951)   "I have read your book and commend it to those who are interested in knowing the truth......"   GENERAL DOUGLAS MacARTHUR


Freda Utley is English by birth and an American by choice, having become a citizen in 1950, after living in the United States since 1939.  Although best known as author, lecturer, and newspaper correspondent, she has had a distinguished academic career.  She was graduated from London University with a First Class Honours degree in history, awarded an M.A. degree with distinction, and then appointed to a Research Fellowship at the London School of Economics.  She abandoned an academic career to go to the Soviet Union, where she married a Russian with whom she spent a year in Japan before living with him for six years in Moscow.  In the USSR, as wife and mother, and as a research worker at the Institute of World Economy and Politics, which became the Russian branch of the Institute of Pacific Relations, she acquired a knowledge of Soviet Far Eastern policy and of the realities of life in the Soviet Union unique among British and American writers.   Having escaped from Russia with her young son after her husband’s incarceration in a Soviet concentration camp, Freda Utley returned to England and went to China in 1938 as correspondent for the LONDON NEWS CHRONICLE.  She first came to the United States to plead for an embargo on war supplies to Japan.

            Bertrand Russell, a 1950 Nobel Prize winner, has described Freda Utley’s writings as combining “the keenest and most comprehensive intellectual understanding with deep and sincere emotion.... {they} hold the reader’s attention as intensely as a great novel.”


            The Seattle Post-Intelligencer in reviewing her last book, "THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE"   said:  “Once back in 1928 Freda Utley made a mistake about Russia.  Later she proved right about Japan before Pearl Harbor, about the Soviet Union during the war, and about China afterwards.  That is a very good average for a human being with the courage to investigate and think, the latter taking the more courage these days.”

            Having been one of the first writers to tell the truth about Soviet Russia, and having shown the essential weaknesses of Japan in "JAPAN'S FEET OF CLAY", she foretold the disastrous consequence of our China policy in her "LAST CHANCE IN CHINA" published in 1947.


THE DREAM WE LOST (1940, John Day Company, New York)

Soviet Russia Then and Now

by Freda Utley

Long before the Soviet-Nazi pact, long before the recent exodus of the disillusioned from the Communist party caused by the pact, Freda Utley became dissatisfied with the so-called socialism of Soviet Russia.   She had been a member of the British Communist party.  But  after going to live and work in Russia with her Russian husband in 1930, she became so disillusioned that she never transferred to the Russian Communist party and soon let her British membership lapse.

            Tragic circumstances have sealed Freda Utley’s lips on the subject of Russia until now, for in 1936 her husband was suddenly arrested by the Ogpu and sent without trial to an Arctic concentration camp.  She has never seen him since nor been allowed to communicate with him.  Though she was able to reach London with her young son, she dared not speak out against this dictatorship which had killed her ideals and stolen her husband, so long as he was at its mercy.  Now she has abandoned hope for him, and made the fateful decision to describe the realities of Russia as she sees them after having lived there for six years and worked in the Comintern, the Commissariat of Foreign Trade, the Commissariat of Light Industry, and the Institute of World Economy and Politics (Communist Academy).

            Nine years ago she began to perceive that the “great experiment” in communism was a delusion, and she witnessed the gradual degeneration of the “workers’ state” into one where a bureaucracy headed by an autocrat owned the state as its private property and where the people were state serfs.  She cites the warning made by Lenin in 1905:

            “Anyone who attempts to achieve socialism by any other route than that of political democracy will inevitably arrive at the most absurd reactionary deductions.”

            She shows conclusively the emptiness of the ideological distinction which so many liberals have fondly made between “socialist” Russia and “fascist” Germany, in favor of the former.  The major difference--and an important one it is--is that Russia’s autocratic machine is the more ruthless and by far the less efficient--so inefficient that the Russian workers and peasants today are even worse fed and clothed than under the Tsar.

            She thinks that the Comintern and its fellow-travellers played an important part in bringing about the present war in Europe, which Stalin hopes will lead to such destruction, exhaustion, and misery that his Red Imperialism will be victorious at the last.  Peace between the Allies and Germany seems to her the only hope for the survival of some civilization in Europe; if Germany fails to win dominion east of the Rhine, she will “go Bolshevik” under Hitler and Hitler will become Stalin’s vassal, instead of Stalin’s being Hitler’s vassal as at present.

Copyright 1940, by The John Day Company, Inc.


"To Freda Utley, with my deepest appreciation, and admiration,--you're helping keep brainwashing out of America, and helping fight it in the bamboo and iron curtain countries"---Edward Hunter, Washington, March 10, 1953 (from the inscription in his classic book, Brain Washing in Red China)



 ................                      combines the journalist’s news-gathering sense and         ...........                      personal danger, the crusader’s zeal, and the student’s .............                   She received her M.A. degree (equivalent to the Ph.D. .......................         universities) with the mark of distinction from London University     .........         While holding a research fellowship at the London University    .......                economics she began work on her Lancashire and the Far East      .....      she completed after a year in Japan.

            ...........          have aroused controversy and critical admiration.  ............  Bertrand Russell called her JAPAN'S FEET OF CLAY   “the most remarkable  ......    I’ve read for a long time.  No one who wishes to have an ......... international questions should fail to read this book.     .............          its massive refutation of Japanese boasts.”  H.N. B......       ed it for its “wealth of information that one can get now.  .... Brilliantly interpreted.”  The N.Y. Times termed it “a long    .......     book .  .  . So well and thoroughly documented  .   .    .  It should be .....     all who are interested in getting to the roots of what is happening in the world today.”  David H. Popper said in the N.Y. Herald Tribune Books:  “Had Dr. Utley’s point been driven home during the early stages of the Manchurian crisis it is not inconceivable that the effect on the thinking public of Britain and America might have been sufficient to bring Japan to book.  A more effective indictmnet of a whole nation’s economy has seldom appeared.”


CHINA AT WAR (1939 the John Day Company, New York)

by Freda Utley

            “This is a singularly lucid account of the situation in China by an observer on the spot who is both sympathetic and objective.  If she has an ax to grind, it is to use it against those in the Western democracies who are ignorant of or indifferent to the fact that the war which is being waged on the Yangtze and Yellow rivers may, in her opinion, decide the future of the worled more effectually ‘than on the Rhine or the Vistual or in the conference halls of Europe,’”  N.Y. SUN

            “A brilliant job of unbiased reporting, praising Chinese endurance and damning Chinese shortcomings--neglect of the masses and especially of wounded soldiers.” -- THE NEW REPUBLIC

            “Sound sense on the Far East, written with force and verve.”   -- Nathaniel Peffer in N.Y. TIMES BOOK REVIEW.