Sharon Isaak
April 23, 1993 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The Man Who Stayed Behind

Current Status
In Season
Amanda Bennett, Sidney Rittenberg
Biography, Politics and Current Events

We gave it an A-

In 1946 Sidney Rittenberg became the only American ever to join the Chinese Communist Party. As he climbed through its ranks as translator and party official, he was in a unique position to observe the CCP’s astonishing military successes as well as its political contortions. A compelling storyteller, Rittenberg gives vivid accounts of everything from his first encounter with Mao Zedong (while Mao was dancing one night to ”Turkey in the Straw”) to his qualms about the Cultural Revolution in The Man Who Stayed Behind. Despite his unconvincing protestations of naiveté about party corruption, he provides valuable insights into where China’s great social experiment went wrong. A-

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