Book Review on Red China Blues

Book Review on Red China Blues - 1 Jan Wong Red China...

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Jan Wong Red China Blues: My Long March From Mao to Now; New York: Anchor Books, 1996. Pp. xxv, 395. Price: $15.95 Book Review on Red China Blues Jan Wong’s book Red China Blues is a description of her youthful passion for left- wing politics and the desire to view the “perfect” communist society that led her to participate in the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Although she spoke little Chinese immediately upon her arrival, she was among one of the first westerners to enroll in Beijing University where her knowledge for communism, Maoism, and Chinese politics ultimately flourished. However, the idealism that she once enjoyed 1
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did not survive the harsh realities and duplicity she saw in China during the 1970’s. She eventually would abandon her support of Maoism and work for the Globe and Mail Newspaper in Canada as a foreign correspondent. Her work for the Globe, ultimately put her in the middle of the Tiananmen Square incident where she was an eye witness documenting it down to the smallest detail. Those she interviewed and the knowledge she obtained after the Tiananmen Square incident would ultimately help her knowledge of China flourish and grow even more. The overall make-up of the book greatly contributed to my knowledge of the era. To be quite frank, my knowledge of communism and Maoism concerning China was pretty dull. I had little understanding of it before delving into the pages of this book. 2
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However, after reading it, I have come out on the other side with a greater knowledge and understanding. For years growing up, communism has been painted as this horrible picture, one that we must save the rest of the world from and help them to turn their governments into Democracies. We entered an arms race with the Soviet Union in the early 1960’s. The impending competition between us and the Soviets would later become known as the “Cold War” and would last for years. In the end, however, the Soviet Union would crumble and The United States would take its rightful place as the world’s most dominant force. However, I never quite asked myself why Communism was so bad in the first place. I mean, after all, it does sound like the absolute Utopia. As Karl Marx would once put it "The Communists. .. are on the one 3
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hand, practically, the most advanced and resolute section of the working-class parties of every country, that section which pushes forward all others; on the other hand, theoretically, they have over the great mass of the proletariat the advantage of clearly understanding the lines of march, the conditions, and the ultimate general results of the proletarian movement. The immediate aim of the Communists is the same as that of
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This note was uploaded on 04/16/2008 for the course HISTORY 3465 taught by Professor Liddle during the Spring '08 term at Texas State.

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Book Review on Red China Blues - 1 Jan Wong Red China...

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