Leys has been accused of a monomaniacal determination to expose Maoism. Others compare him to George Orwell. Both views have some validity. This book of essays, like Leys' earlier classic Chinese Shadows, should not be read as an introduction to contemporary China. But as part of an advanced course for those who have already been through basic training, it contains some stunning insights. And it is, above all, a delight to read. I know of no one else who conveys the human side of Chinese life so well.