The Vigil of a Nation – Lin Yutang (1946) (1st UK ed)


The Vigil of a Nation – Lin Yutang (1946) (1st UK ed)


The first UK edition of Lin Yutang’s travels in wartime China, expressing his anti-Communist views.

Title: The Vigil of a Nation

Author: Lin Yutang

Publisher: William Heinemann, 1946. First UK edition, revised from the US edition of 1945.

Condition: Hardcover, no dust jacket. Good, except for sparse annotations to the text, in pen, and a small bookseller’s sticker to endpaper. With black-and-white plates. 324pp., app 7.5″ by 4.5″.

From the author’s preface:

Preface to the English edition:

We are just about to witness the bursting of a bubble and the passing of a huge hoax practised upon the English-American public. This book was published in America during the high tide of anti-Chungking and pro-Communist propaganda. Written primarily as a book of travel sketches to give the inside of the conditions in China as the Chinese see it, the sections dealing with the Chinese Communists naturally attracted the most attention. A group of foreign reporters who had visited the Chinese Communist area in a conducted tour of 3 or 4 weeks depending exclusively on Communist interpreters had just come back to pose as authorities of the two-decade-old Kuomintang-Communist conflict. Sensing the tide of opinion, they painted a glamourized picture of the Chinese Communist regime, which is essentially different from the reality…..As I wrote the book for the general reader, I did not think it important to burden the book with footness. In view of so much confusion on the Chinese Communist issue, however, I have prepared several appendices especially for the English edition which contain the necessary minimum documentation. The most important one is of course the digest of The New Democracy by the Communist dictator of Yenan, Mao-Tse-Tune, never published before.


  1. Preface to the English edition
  2. Preface
  3. Flight into China
  4. Chungking
  5. Pandas, Widows and the Literary Famine
  6. The Nation’s Leaders
  7. Ships and Machines
  8. to the North-West
  9. Ancient Sian
  10. The “Civil War”
  11. Young China and the War
  12. Huashan
  13. Paochi and the Japanese Prisoners
  14. The North-west Highway
  15. Old Chengtu
  16. Out of the Bamboo Age
  17. Reflections on Democracy and the Future
  18. Appendix 1: A Digest of China’s New Democracy
  19. Appendix 2: From Tang Ti Chien Sheh, Chinese Communist Handbook
  20. Appendix 3: Conflict in North China
  21. Appendix 4: Origin and Pattern of the Civil War
  22. Appendix 5: Are the Chinese Communists True Democrats?