Sidney Rittenberg was a labor activist in the American South before going to China as a translator for the U.S. Army in 1945. He stayed there until 1980, joining the Communist Party and going to the revolutionary base at Yan’an, where he got to know Mao Zedong and other senior members of the Party who went on to govern China. He also spent 16 years in solitary confinement.
In this first episode of a two-part interview, Kaiser and Jeremy talk to Sidney about his fascinating life story.
You can read a Q&A with Sidney on SupChina here. You can buy Sidney’s books: an autobiography, The Man Who Stayed Behind, and Manage Your Mind: Set Yourself Free, on lessons he learned while in solitary confinement. The Revolutionary is a documentary film about his life.