p>Throughout the 1930s Westerners were vaguely aware of China's communist movement, but it took Kansas City-born Edgar Snow to introduce them to the man whose life and reputation would dominate East Asia for half a century: Mao Tse-tung.
Snow - portrayed by actor Robby Gibby Brand - returns to his home town for a conversation as part of the Library's popular Meet the Past series on Thursday, March 1, 2012, at 7 p.m. on the Lyric Opera set for Nixon in China in the Muriel Kauffman Theatre of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.
Asking the questions is library director Crosby Kemper III. The program will be taped by KCPT.
Admission is free. RSVP at http://tickets.kcopera.org or call 816.701.3407.
Snow (1905-1972) studied journalism at the University of Missouri and on a world tour in 1928 fell in love with China. Working on a book about Chinese communism, in 1936 he interviewed leaders of the party and in his landmark book Red Star Over China (1938) favorably described Mao as an agrarian reformer rather than the radical revolutionary many in the West feared.
Snow would deal with his controversial assessment of Mao for the rest of his life.
Over the years Snow often returned to China to interview Mao and his colleague Chou En-lai, the only Western journalist with such open access to those architects of the new China.
He died in 1972 even as President Richard Nixon was making his historic trip to China.
Half of Snow's ashes were buried on the bank of the Hudson River in New York City. The other half were scattered at Beijing University.
This event is co-sponsored by the Lyric Opera of Kansas City and KCPT. Additional event support provided by the Edgar Snow Memorial Fund, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Diastole Scholars' Center, the Confucius Institute of the University of Kansas, and the Kansas City Chinese American Association.
Major funding for this season of Meet the Past has been provided by the Courtney S. Turner Charitable Trust, Ken and Cindy McClain, and the J. B. Reynolds Foundation.