Red China Blues: My Long March From Mao To Now

Red China Blues: My Long March From Mao To Now

by Jan Wong
4.6 15

Paperback(Reprint)

$11.18 $15.95 Save 30% Current price is $11.18, Original price is $15.95. You Save 30%.
View All Available Formats & Editions
Eligible for FREE SHIPPING
  • Use Standard Shipping ,  For guaranteed delivery by Dec. 24.
    Same Day delivery in Manhattan. 
    Details

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Red China Blues: My Long March From Mao To Now 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Stancey More than 1 year ago
Jan Wong made this journey from Mao to now. Excellent research & history. Ms. Wong has taken the Cultural Revolution & Tiananmen Square to a different perspective. She has added her sense of belonging, humor, and fact to make this a roller coaster ride through China. I will cherish this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Red China Blues is an easy read, full of self-mockery by the author, Jan Wong. Written from Wong¿s unique perspective as a Western-born Maoist, Red China Blues takes its readers from the height of the Cultural Revolution through the massacre at Tiananmen Square. Wong makes a fairly successful attempt at explaining the motivation behind her devotion to the Communist ideal in the beginning of the book, endeavoring to answer the question that runs through most of her readers¿ heads: Why would a girl raised under the supposedly superior capitalist/democratic system ever willingly seek to live in Communist China? Readers looking for an unbiased account of the improvements Communism has brought to China should not read Red China Blues. Wong has clearly been there, done that, and returned older, wiser, and cynical about her experiences. She writes from the perspective of someone who has been twice disillusioned ¿ once by the materialism of the Western world, and again by the corruption of the Communist system she thought was the solution to the problems of the former. Readers should keep in mind that Wong¿s experience is not unique; many other Western youths, deeply disappointed with their governments and societies, succumbed to the lure of an idealistic Communist worker¿s Utopia. Like Jan, they felt betrayed when they discovered that the same corruption existed in both capitalist/democratic and Communist systems; they encountered petty Communist officials who, with their positions in the government, could ruin the lives of entire families. Red China Blues presents these experiences through a memoir easily accessible to casual readers (as well as World Literature students).
Guest More than 1 year ago
Jan Wong's Red China Blues is a first-person account of Communist China, from Wong's days as a student at Beijing University to those as a reporter covering Tiananmen Square. Wong does a very good job of vividly recounting the horrific events of June 4, 1989, as captured from her hotel room above the square. In other portions of the book, Wong mixes equal parts history and hindsight to show the state of affairs of China in the early Seventies, such as her first arrival in China, when a potential date is inexplicably forbidden from seeing her by her tour guide, or her days at the University when she was completely unaware that her roommate had been selected to spy on her. Some parts of the book are very well-written, but others tend to be less interesting and less clear. The book is also fairly long, and covers such a wide base of events that it may be better to read it in several parts. All in all, a good book, but too long and too involved to make it an excellent one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
While reading the book Red China Blues, I found it fascinating and well written. For a person having little background in Chinese history it was remarkably easy to understand. Jan Wong clearly explains everything so that the non-Chinese reader can understand the Chinese culture and the experiences she had there. It is enjoyable to read about how Ms. Wong matures, and the way she makes her own coming of age parallel China's as a whole is fascinating. Because she is a Canadian, western readers will find that the book makes references that they can relate to and understand. I found this very helpful when reading about Chinese culture for the first time. On a more literary note, Ms. Wong had clear descriptions of people, places, and events which were neither too short to make much sense nor too long as to be a burden on the flow of the story. It moves swiftly, and it is sometimes frustrating that she spends a long time on some topics and what one feels is not enough on others. It is well-written however, and all the topics she discusses about her stay in China all make sense within the context of the story. On a scale of one to ten I would rate this book an eight because her cynicism often permeates early parts of the book where she is trying to convey her love of Maoism. This historical perspective takes something away from an otherwise good book that has many qualities to recommend it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Red China Blues is the Cultural Revolution and the Tiananmen Square Massacre as told through the experiences of a Westerner -- a Chinese-Canadien -- during her teenage and early adult years. The author Jan Wong actually grew up in Canada as the child of assimilated immigrants, and then visited China at the height of the Cultural Revolution to rediscover her roots and to eschew the exploitative nature of Western society. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this memoir, because being a teen myself, I found it easy to understand the Cultural Revolution as explained by Jan Wong. I could relate to Jan's idealism, and her sense of humor made Maoism, or 'Mao Zedong Thought,' as it's called, look sexy. The most exciting aspect of the book was definitely watching Jan's perspective change as the political climate in China evolved. It's really cool to see China transform via the observations of a Canadien student-turned-Maoist-turned-journalist, because the evolution of the Chinese political and economic system can make for very matter-of-fact textbook reading. In fact, throughout this entire book, Jan's candidness and sarcasm make it apparent that she is not a history professor, but rather a very witty and perceptive young woman. I would recommend this book to any young person looking to gain a better understanding of the Cultural Revolution or of the factors that have propelled China into its current political, economic, and social situation. Jan's writing style is personable and her ideas are sincere. Overall, Red China Blues is both an exciting and informative read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Communism. The word itself strikes fear and doubt into the hearts of many who probably have never been to or experienced life in a communist country. Jan Wong fills this vacancy in our knowledge. Her words place you where the action is: Communist China. The reader sees this troubled nation through the eyes of a Canadian-born Chinese, who travels to China in the 1970¿s as a dedicated ¿Maoist¿. Her reasoning on the belief that communism is the ¿perfect¿ government is credible: to a nation whose majority had been oppressed in the past, the idea of equal distribution of wealth to everybody is like a holy grail to the people. But as her time in the country gradually increases, Wong begins to see the problems. Slowly, she becomes exposed to the darker side of Communist China: the corruption in the government, the use of propaganda and lies, and the oppressed ¿rebels¿. As she becomes more disillusioned with Communism and Mao, the country changes with her. Soon the Cultural Revolution that started the ¿cleansing¿ of the nation of capitalism ceases, Chairman Mao dies, and the great Tiananmen Square Massacre occurs. The memoir masterfully recreates this event that unsettled the world; Wong¿s first-hand account depicts images of horror and disbelief in the reader. She also shows how her opinions as a Canadian reporter contrast the information released by the Chinese news agencies. By this time, her ¿pure¿ image of China had been jolted and drastically changed. Red China Blues shows how the opinions of the people who belong to the most populated nation changed about Communism, as did Wong¿s. She does not immense the reader only in general history and gathered information, but rather tells the story through real, eyewitness experiences. History textbooks do not come close to explaining Red China in the later part of the twentieth century with as much detail and skill as Jan does. After reading this book, the term ¿communism¿ truly has a deeper meaning.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Jan Wong¿s Red China Blues provides a unique, intimate perspective on China from the Cultural Revolution to Tiananmen Square and beyond. Reading the book is like listening to an old friend, as Wong writes in very candid and straightforward fashion. What the book lacks in figurative language, it makes up for in hilarious anecdotes and deep insight. Wong is a Canadian-born Chinese, who goes to China because she has come to support Mao and Communism during the tumultuous sixties and early seventies. She begins studying in China, becoming a full-fledged Maoist. Working in the fields, she experiences life as a native Chinese during the Cultural Revolution. It is very interesting to see Wong¿s outlook and opinions change as she lives through Chinese history including Mao¿s death, and Tiananmen Square. The depictions of the events in Tiananmen Square in 1989 are extremely intense. Working as a foreign correspondent for the New York Times, Wong had bullets whiz by her head as she experienced the atrocities first hand. It is interesting to see Wong mature from the naïve Maoist to the savvy skeptical reporter. The reader empathizes with Wong very much as he or she begins to understand her feelings towards China. Wong¿s personal reactions to the historical events in China closely mimic the entire national sentiment. Coming from a westerner, these experiences help western readers identify with someone on the other end of the socioeconomic spectrum, such as a third world farmer, or a peasant in a small village.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The author of this book, Jan Wong, provides a unique perspective of modern China from the perspective of a capitalist Westerner. Her youth society is as different as it could get from a Maoist China. Jan Wong gives great detail of the 'worker's paradise' and immerses the reader in countless emotions as she brings the story to the death of Mao. The reader sees the appeal of communism as Wong describes her attraction towards communism as a rebellious youth. As a Chinese, I feel she accurately describes the events that occurred in China. Her serious, yet humorous, writing style can appeal to all sorts of audiences. This memoir is a must-read for anyone interested in how China got to where it is today.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The value of Red China Blues is in its perspective: a young Chinese-Canadian girl, the author Jan Wong, disgusted with her own country¿s bourgeois capitalism, travels to China to reform her thinking in a country she perceives as a worker¿s paradise. The story consists of the events that gradually erode this illusion away, from the death of Mao Zedong to Wong¿s near expulsion from a Chinese university to the Tiananmen Square massacre. There are myriads of other books that explore these events and their impact, but Red China Blues appeals especially to the Western mind, due to the Canadian upbringing of the author. Wong¿s narration conveys a sense of hopelessness and suppression in the Chinese population through both personal and historical anecdotes. The reader gets a glimpse of the sly manipulation of Wong¿s social life as a student in China by government officials, and, later, the author describes the aura of alleviation she witnessed on the streets of China after Mao¿s death. The variety of views into Chinese culture, along with the Western perspective with which they are told, allow Wong to accomplish her task; to provide an unbiased, truthful look at China, a nation whose essence is often difficult to grasp for those half a world away.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Offers unique insight and is witty. I could not put the book down. Not a terribly fast reader, I read it in a week. That includes other texts and materials at the University level also. I highly reccommend this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Having read a number of historical accounts in the past few months has afforded me the opportunity to appreciate Jan Wong¿s masterful storytelling to it¿s fullest potential, one of inviting engagement. From the recent experiences I have found it to the most pleasant rhetoric I have exposed myself to, seeing as it opened up the story of Mao and China all together at a level few other writing styles could have succeeded. Red China Blues supplements a classroom lesson by offering an education beyond that of a textbook, giving a western reader a keyhole through which to peep into the forbidden ranks of quasi-communist China. My appreciation of this engagement has been magnified by recent readings. The book I set aside in favor of Red China Blues was A People¿s History of the United States by Howard Zinn, which is a remarkable book when seen as a historical account, but it¿s dry rhetoric makes it an uninviting piece of literature. Jan Wong¿s Red China Blues managed to find a solution to my problem in the form of its involving tale. It is this element of involvement that intrigued me so, something that I have come to realize is a key element in all of learning itself, beyond any classroom. Jan Wong¿s transition from 'Mao to Now' also opens up the story by showing the reader that Ms. Wong has been on both sides of the fence, and as a reader one can feel assured that the full story is being delivered. And it is, in the form of first hand accounts at factories and labor camps in the 1970¿s and Tiananman Square in 1989.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As a person who, before reading this book, had no knowledge of Red China, I found it to be very engaging and informative. Jan Wong¿s autobiographical account of her experience in Mao and post-Mao China provide the reader with a believer¿s opinion of Communism. This is perfect for the ready who isn¿t experienced in modern Chinese history, because it shows how the corruptions of the system slowly changed Wong¿s feelings for the Chinese way of life. When she left Montreal to go to China, and live as a socialist student, Jan Wong believed strongly in the ideal of communism, and in the teachings of Mao Zedong, but as the story progressed, she found her views changed with respect to the Chinese version of communism. Wong grows up over the course of the book, and becomes much less susceptible to the kind of brainwashing that the communists first tried to use on her. Instead of becoming intimidated by the communist supporters, she became contemptuous often. For instance, the government had her followed for the moths following Tiananmen Square, but she made a game out of trying to lose the car that followed her. One of the most strongly emphasized points in the book is the protest and subsequent massacre at Tiananmen Square. There are three full chapters devoted to the description of the events leading up to Tiananmen Square, the riotous days of student protest, and the effects afterwards. These chapters are among the most poignant and emotional in any book, made all the more meaningful by the fact that this was a historical account. Jan Wong¿s book, Red China Blues, thoroughly lives up to its subtitle, My Long March From Mao to Now. Wong was able to look back on her life and understand that some of the things that she did were misguided. For example, when she and her American classmate, Erica, turned in their Chinese classmate Yin Luoyi for trying to get to America, Wong 'actually thought that we were doing the rig thing. It was for her sake. We weren¿t trying to get points for ourselves.' The simple fact that she grew from the time that she first went to China, and became a better person through her experiences vindicates her actions in the book, as she truly did believe that what she did was right.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book, Red China Blues is written by a 2nd generation Chinese-Canadian trying to get, to some extent, get in touch with her roots. However, through that process, she offers a perspective that Westerners can concretely grasp, a perspective that uses comparisons to allow the reader to fully understand what is going on in China. Wong explains the ideals of communist China and the Cultural Revolution on our terms comparing Western life with Chinese. A large chunk of the book is devoted to explaining the Tiannamen Square incident in 1989. As a foreign journalist Jan remains slightly detached from the situation and tries to ensure the most objective opinion, pointing to faults on both sides, the protestors and the government. One interesting excerpt suggested that though the protestors vowed to fast until their voices were heard, however, they still ate snacks from to time, claiming that snacks weren¿t really food. However, Jan still maintains that the government, who ordered to shoot committed the most horrific crimes, she estimates that some 3,000 Chinese were slaughtered in the massacre. Also, her chronicles are very recent, leaving off only in the 1990¿s. Wong offers perspective and insight for the future suggesting that the Chinese one-child policy has inadvertently created a society of selfish ¿little emperors,¿ children who will grow up and find it hard to embrace communist ideology of sharing and community. Quoting Wong, ¿Where the Mao generation failed, the Me generation just might succeed.¿ (page 384).
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is fantastic. I spend almost 2 years in China prior to reading it, and once I started reading it I could FEEL as though I was there again, seeing things through her eyes. Jan Wong is an excellent writer. It is very insightful about Chinese history as well as a very intersesting autobiography. I cannot wait to read her next book!