cover image Red Earth: Revolution in a Chinese Village

Red Earth: Revolution in a Chinese Village

Stephen Endicott. New Amsterdam Books, $27.95 (261pp) ISBN 978-0-941533-99-7

Born in Shanghai to a long line of Canadian missionaries to China, Endicott, a history professor at Ontario University, grew up in China. He left before the Communist revolution, but returned for extended periods in the '80s to record the impact upon one rural village of four decades of sweeping land reforms and social and institutional restructuring under the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. Detailed research and empathy for the Chinese inform the author's observations and appraisals of changes in public health, schools, women's emancipation and family planning, etc. More memorable, however, are his realistic portraits and the oral histories given by commune members, including group leaders, midwives and doctors. Endicott's sensitivity to the people's life rhythms, bred of intimate and cordial associations highly unusual for an outsider, allows him a unique perspective. (Apr.)