Megan Harlan
June 21, 1996 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Red China Blues: My Long March From Mao to Now

Current Status
In Season
Jan Wong
Politics and Current Events, Memoir

We gave it an A

As a college freshman in 1972, Chinese-Canadian journalist Jan Wong put her Communist idealism where her mouth was: She left her well-off Montreal family to become one of Beijing University’s first Western students during the Cultural Revolution. In this smart, irreverent, extremely readable memoir-cum-social history, Wong confesses how she found the stark Marxist regimen so glamorously different than life in the wicked West — until, several years wiser, she faced the totalitarianism surrounding her and returned home. Flash-forward to the late ’80s when Wong, a Beijing correspondent for the Toronto Globe, returned to a very different China, where she found her old Maoist pals had become jaundiced capitalists. Red China Blues: My Long March from Mao to Now‘s deft intertwining of personal and historical perspectives makes for a riveting, human-scaled look at a nation so ambiguous to the West. A

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