The problem with this book is the author's strategy of mixing her own, often simplistic, account of Chinese Communist history with a selective and self-serving account by Mao's wife. The value of the book lies not in its pretensions to history but in Chiang Ch'ing's revelations. They disclose a power-hungry and completely unscrupulous "empress" engaging in sordid, Byzantine intrigues under the guise of purifying the "masses." As history, the book must be treated with great caution. As political journalism, it sheds - albeit unwittingly - fascinating light on the deterioration of a revolution and the devouring of its children.