An excellent work about China as seen through the eyes of women of three different generations: the author, who left China in 1978; her mother, a revolutionary who married one of Mao's soldiers; and her grandmother, concubine to a warlord. Although aimed at the general reader, parts of this will be rewarding for specialists, especially those interested in Chinese social history during the decades leading up to the Communist revolution. For example, during the war period, the author's family was usually "behind the lines" (of the Japanese, then of the Communists), about which little has been written in English. Later parts of the book would be valuable to anyone especially interested in Sichuan province. Less "new" are the general events of 1949-78, including the horrors of the Cultural Revolution. Particularly well portrayed are the efforts of the Communists to change the Chinese social system. An often fascinating narrative, though one often yearns for a map and family tree.
About the Author
is a Chinese-British writer now living in London, best known for her family autobiography Wild Swans, selling over 10 million copies worldwide but banned in the People's Republic of China.
Her 832-page biography of Mao Zedong, Mao: The Unknown Story, written with her husband, the British historian Jon Halliday, was published in June 2005.