The Red Mirror / Edition 1

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Overview


These evocative stories bring to life the tragic personal impact of the Cultural Revolution on the families of China’s intellectuals. Now adults, survivors recall their childhood during the tumultuous years between 1965 and 1976, when Mao’s death finally drew a curtain on a bitterly failed social and political experiment.A series of first-person narratives eloquently describes the life-long influence of this seminal period on China’s children. Those who were teenagers in the late 1960s joined the Red Guards and the revolutionary rebel groups, following Mao’s directives to make revolution, often to their own undoing. Those who were too young to participate directly were even more vulnerable. Although they had little understanding of the political firestorm that engulfed their parents, they were old enough to understand and feel the terror it brought. Vividly capturing the emotional intensity of the time, these stories explore what it was like to be caught up in revolutionary fervor, to be sent to the countryside, to be separated—either ideologically or physically—from one’s parents, often forever.By undermining families and family structure, the Cultural Revolution created a generation of Chinese who view politics, the Communist Party, and life itself with deep cynicism. Presenting a spectrum of individual stories of people who saw the Cultural Revolution through the eyes of a child, The Red Mirror offers rare insights for understanding the crippling legacy of the Cultural Revolution.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Collecting these 14 narratives must have been painful work. The author, a U.S. journalist with degrees in sociology and Asian studies, and herself a child in China during the Cultural Revolution, returned years later to interview her contemporaries about their experiences in the tumultuous years from 1965 to 1976. The narrators, now in their mid-30s to early 40s, recall how their families and lives were changed forever by Mao (and the Gang of Four) as he attempted to root out bourgeois and capitalist influences in Chinese society. There are touching instances of self-sacrifice and bravery, and everywhere symbols of dashed hopes: one girl killed her pet hen and made it into chicken soup to bring to her imprisoned father; two brothers, finding their mother's dead body abandoned in the street, surreptitiously buried her. Children were separated from their parentssometimes foreveror saw their politically disgraced elders imprisoned or sent to brutal reeducation camps. In other families, parents neglected or abandoned their children, and children enthralled by the Red Guards denounced their parents. Years later, the narrators are still overwhelmed with guilt, shame or remorse at the painful recollection of selfishor simply childishacts that jeopardized their families. The author's introduction, which contains her own narrative, and the foreword by Richard P. Madsen, provide valuable historical background. The stories here reaffirm that the Cultural Revolution is a scar that continues to mark China for years to come. (Feb.)
Library Journal
A former editor/reporter for the Xinhua News Agency in Beijing here collects first-person narratives of the era.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813324883
  • Publisher: Westview Press
  • Publication date: 2/19/1995
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 196
  • Lexile: 880L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 0.44 (w) x 5.50 (h) x 8.50 (d)

Meet the Author


Chihua Wen is a former editor and reporter for the Xinhua News Agency in Beijing. She earned an M.A. in sociology from the University of California at San Diego and an M.A. in Asian Studies from San Diego State University. Bruce Jones is a graduate student in the Department of Communication at the University of California at San Diego. Chihua Wen is a former editor and reporter for the Xinhua News Agency in Beijing. She earned an M.A. in sociology from the University of California at San Diego and an M.A. in Asian Studies from San Diego State University. Bruce Jones is a graduate student in the Department of Communication at the University of California at San Diego.
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Table of Contents

Foreword
Acknowledgments
Author's Introduction 1
Prisoners and Wardens 31
Butterflies and Rain 42
Familiar Weapons 55
Poems and Pigs 65
A Treat for My Father 77
Iron Grandma 87
For a Little Love 95
Sustaining Life 107
A Proper Lady 116
In Gorky's Footsteps 122
Class Origins 136
Presumed Guilt 144
No Adolescence 159
Postscript 166
About the Book and Author 169
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