In this gritty autobiographical novel (1929) revered writer and activist Agnes Smedley describes her first 33 years, growing up in a mixed-race family on the wrong side of the tracks, teaching at fifteen, going to college at Berkeley, discovering double standards of race, class, and gender there and among East Coast intellectuals, and surviving two tormented marriages. Alice Walker calls it "a precious, priceless book ...a remarkably rare affirmation." The Village Voice notes the 'power' of "erotic heat which informs every page of the book, erotic in the original Greek sense of life force."
Agnes Smedley (1892 - 1950) was an American journalist and writer, well known for her semi-autobiographical novel Daughter of Earth as well as for her sympathetic chronicling of the Communist forces in the Chinese Civil War. During World War I, she worked in the United States for the independence of India from the United Kingdom, receiving financial support from the government of Germany. Subsequently, she went to China, where she is suspected of acting as a spy for the Comintern. As the lover of Soviet super spy Richard Sorge in Shanghai in the early 1930s, she helped get him established for his final and greatest work as spymaster in Tokyo. She also worked on behalf of various causes including women's rights, birth control, and children's welfare. Smedley wrote six books, including a novel, reportage, and a biography of the Chinese general Zhu De, reported for newspapers such as New York Call, Frankfurter Zeitung, and Manchester Guardian, and wrote for periodicals such as the Modern Review, New Masses, Asia, New Republic, and The Nation.