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Michiko KakutaniIt is Mr. Pan's achievement in Out of Mao's Shadow that he makes the dark side of China's glittering economic growth palpably real to the reader by showing the fallout of these changes on the lives of individual citizens, just as he shows the potent effect that a few brave individuals—speaking up on behalf of civil liberties, freedom of the press and government accountability—can have on the party's conduct of day-to-day business. Fluent in Chinese, Mr. Pan crisscrossed the country, from Beijing to booming cities and dismal mines in the south to aging factories in the northeast. He interviewed artists, workers, peasants, journalists and entrepreneurs, and his portraits of these people possess both the immediacy of first-rate reportage and the emotional depth of field of a novel.
—The New York Times