This is the personal account of a man who grew up in China and witnessed tumultuous years of the Cultural Revolution. Born in Nanjing in 1958, Zhu Xiao Di was the son of idealistic, educated parents. His father and uncles joined the Communist movement in the 1930s during the Japanese occupation and were influential underground and military leaders throughout the revolution. Despite their honorable history, they fell into political disfavor by the time of the Cultural Revolution. In 1968, when Zhu was just ten years old, his mother and father were taken to different labor camps for "rehabilitation." In the face of this injustice, the Zhus struggled to maintain family ties and uphold traditional values. Eventually, the family was reunited and restored to some measure of prominence, and a monument was later erected in Nanjing in honor of Zhu's father, Zhu Qiluan. At the heart of this narrative are the trials of a family caught in the crosscurrents of history - from the early attractions of the Communist revolution to the national disaster that followed and the subsequent odyssey of recovery.
Following in the footsteps of Nien Cheng's Life and Death in Shanghai (1986), Jung Chang's Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China (1991), and several other recollections on personal/family experiences during China's communist revolution, Zhu's book provides another excellent account of life in Mao's China. But this memoir is by no means a simple repetition of what the other books have already told. Zhu's narrative is unique. Its central figure is the author's father, an educated communist cadre who joined the revolution in the 1930s, and who became a member of the revolutionary elite after its victory in 1949. However, when the revolution was brought to "deeper" levels-especially when it reached its nadir, the "Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution"-an increasingly widening gap emerged between the revolution's crucial and destructive realities and Zhu's father's commitment to true idealism and humanity, resulting in his changing status from a revolutionary to a victim of the revolution. All this not only caused his family to suffer but also forced the author to think. In the process of pursuing answers to questions concerning why this happened, Zhu goes far beyond his family's ordeals, linking personal and family experiences to a broader comprehension of the nation's public history. The result is this highly readable and thoughtful illustration of Chinese society under Mao's rule. For anyone who is interested in learning more about China's modern history, this book is a welcome addition. All levels"
This well-written memoir by a student of English tells of daily life from his birth in China in 1958 to his departure in 1987. Although they lived in comfortable circumstances in Nanjing, his father and uncles joined the Communist movement in the 1930s, rising to some prominence. Even so, they fell into disfavor during the Cultural Revolution of the late 1960s and were forced into different labor camps across China. Deprived of family, young Xiao Di found refuge in books, learning English to seek other ways of thinking and then finding a teaching position that allowed him to study abroad. Rather one-sided, Zhu's story is nevertheless engrossing and engaging. Recommended for contemporary China collections.Kitty Chen Dean, Nassau Coll., Garden City, N.Y.
A memoir of growing up in communist China from 1958-1987. The son of a communist father who joined the Party in the 1930s and was active in resisting Japanese occupation, the author traces the life of his family through the Cultural Revolution, as his parents were interned in rehabilitation camps and as their fortunes were later restored. Throughout the narrative he places the lives of himself and the people around him within context of the historical and political forces sweeping China during his youth. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.