Gift Guide

The Red Mirror / Edition 1

Paperback (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $1.99
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 94%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (22) from $1.99   
  • New (6) from $10.74   
  • Used (16) from $1.99   


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.
Read More Show Less

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.
Read More Show Less

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.
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

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
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)