Originally published in 1986, a memoir in which the author recounts the horrors of China's Cultural Revolution, during which she was falsely accused ...Show synopsisOriginally published in 1986, a memoir in which the author recounts the horrors of China's Cultural Revolution, during which she was falsely accused of being a British spy and was jailed for 6 years.Hide synopsis
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Nien Cheng's LIFE AND DEATH IN SHANGHAI is a memoir of her decade being persecuted by Mao's Chinese regime, and a testament to an intelligence blending courage, compassion, spiritual, generosity of spirit, and a level of integrity willing to stare down the risk of death and the omnipresence of public rebuke.
This is the autobiography of Nien Cheng, a flunent English speaking Chinese woman.
She was one of the upper classes in China, before the Communist Cultural Revolution. This is an account of her life, from the moment it became affected by the revolution. She tells of the heartbreak of hearing her dead husband's name slandered and of the life of suffering which the Maoist regime inflicted on those who were educated or rich.
Although the content is very sad and the things that Mao and his followers did are deporeable, it is not a sad book.
Throughout the book, she writes with grace and eloquence. She describes her years in solitary confinement where she is constantly interogated with a style which allows the message to come across, and yet, makes it easy to read.
The book is an excellent resource for those interested in the revolution too, you will learn a lot from Nien Cheng's account of the red guards and Zhou Enlai's death with the public outpouring of grief at Tienamen Square.
If you are interested in China at all, this is an excellent book to read. You finish reading with an enormouse sense of respect for a woman stronger than you ever imagined. The book proves just how powerful the human spirit can be in times of desperation. After reading it, I wanted to meet her and thank her for telling her story.
I've been trying to learn more about China and picked this book up as I know there's no better way to get to study the country then from someone's autobiographical account. Nien Cheng proved to be an excellent source and much more then that. The author herself is what I'd call a part of Chinese intelligentsia, well educated and well travelled and in her day enjoyed a very elitist circle of acquaintances: diplomats, corporate bosses etc. The story concentrates on the time of Cultural revolution in China and Nien Cheng's involuntary part in it. I grew to admire her very much. In spite of all the trials she's gone through I didn't find a lot of sadness or despair or self-pity expressed by her on the pages And that actually only served to highlight this book in a remarkable way. It's impossible to read it and not feel grateful for all the things we take for granted. Your own problems will be reduced to miniscule in comparison. So in that sense it's actually an uplifting experience. Get out of your little world and look around a bit, you won't regret it.
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