After the Nightmare

Liang Heng, Author, Judith Shapiro, Author, Liang Heng, Author Alfred A. Knopf $16.95 (240p) ISBN 978-0-394-55153-1
At the age of 12, Liang Heng was a fiercely idealistic Red Guard, but the Cultural Revolution brought disillusionment as he saw his parents disgraced, his father's health and career ruined, his family scattered. He later emigrated to the U.S., where he wrote Son of the Revolution, an account of his early years. At the request of the government of Deng Xiaoping, he and his American wife returned to China to report on current conditions. There they encountered people who exemplify the Cultural Revolution's legacy of personal tragedy and the reconciliation and liberalization taking place today: a former Red Guard who now lives with and nurses the elderly teacher he once publicly humiliated; an intellectual, jailed for eight years during the Maoist regime, who has become one of China's leading policymakers. Although the bulk of the writing consists of episodic reportage, Liang offers insightful commentary as well, suggesting, for example, that China's ""lost generation,'' of which he is a part, is also its thoughtful generation, which ``awakened to the folly of China's traditions with their passion for hierarchy and obedience to authority.'' Nevertheless, in a country that has endured so much shifting of the political winds in so brief a span, the authors' prognosis for China's future is only guardedly optimistic. (May 16)
Reviewed on: 05/01/1986
Release date: 05/01/1986
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-0-02-020990-4
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