In This Review

From the Center of the Earth
From the Center of the Earth
By Richard Bernstein
Little, Brown, 1982, 260 pp
Mao: A Biography
Mao: A Biography
By Ross Terrill
Harper Colophon Books, 1982, 481 pp

Richard Bernstein is the first resident Time correspondent in Peking, a Harvard-trained China specialist, fluent in the language. His book is an angry and devastating criticism of the PRC system in all its dimensions, based largely on a series of poignant personal encounters with forlorn and victimized Chinese citizens. As an antidote to the Maoist apologetics fashionable ten years ago, it is a healthy corrective. Still, the book lacks balance, and, while long on vivid anecdotes, it is short on analysis. Terrill's book is a paperback version of his widely and justly acclaimed biography of Mao. It is extremely readable, covers a great deal of ground, and has shrewd insights into one of the great and complex revolutionaries of the twentieth century. Terrill sees Mao's many faults, but he writes more in sorrow than in anger, and he is basically sympathetic to the founder of the PRC.