In This Review

Mao's Harvest: Voices From China's New Generation
Mao's Harvest: Voices From China's New Generation
Edited by Helen F. Siu and Zelda Stern
Oxford, 1983, 231 pp
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Son of the Revolution
Son of the Revolution
By Liang Heng and Judith Shapiro
Knopf, 1983, 301 pp
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These books are two rending descriptions of the terrible human costs of Mao's revolution. They are the products of young Chinese writers who came of age during the turmoil of the Cultural Revolution. Mao's Harvest is a collection of poignant voices from the youth of China. They question the Chinese political system, its leadership and Maoist ideology itself. In the second book, Liang Heng describes how his family was trapped and torn apart in the shifting winds of Maoist policy, how he became a 12-year-old Red Guard during the Cultural Revolution, struggled to get an education, and finally married an American and fled China. Throughout both these books there is a profound sense of disillusionment and despair. Both stress common themes: the arbitrariness of China's political system; the destructive effects on the family and on human relationships in general; the thwarted desire for recognition of the individual's worth in a collective society.