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Son of the Revolution

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  548 ratings  ·  49 reviews
An autobiography of a young Chinese man whose childhood and adolescence were spent in Mao's China during the Cultural Revolution.
Paperback, 320 pages
Published February 12th 1984 by Vintage (first published January 12th 1983)
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(showing 1-30 of 890)
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Michael
Apr 26, 2015 Michael rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: History teachers, History students, Asia watchers
Recommended to Michael by: Brandon Hunziker
This was a book I was assigned to teach in connection with the class “The World After 1945,” when I was a Teaching Assistant in History. As I recall, it came at a busy time in the semester, and I had to get most of the main teaching points from a meeting with the professor and other TAs just a day or so before class. I should have read the whole thing to prepare (as my students were required to), but judging by the condition of this copy and my fading memory of the contents, I suspect I did not ...more
Esmael Sherka
Son of the Revolution is a spare book, the sort of small biography you might pick up and read in a couple of days some weekend. It packs an enormous punch, though. Liang Heng, its author, experienced essentially every side of the cultural revolution in China, and his graceful, somewhat understated prose only acts as a sort of smooth surface to the roiling undercurrent of those huge events.

Liang Heng literally experienced almost everything about the cultural revolution first hand. In the course o
...more
Paul Aslanian
I stumbled on to this book while reading one of those "five best" books which are often listed in the WSJ when they interview an author. In this case it as a list of the five best books on social/cultural revolutions. The list featured this book on the Red Guards era roughly 1966 to Mau's dealth in 1976.

The book is written by a young man who was about seven when the movement began. He is the middle kid with one sister younger and one older. It is written in the first person by the kid. The reade
...more
Alijah
Dear the people, who read reviews on good read,
At first I was like why read this book, and when I first read this I had disliked this book, but as I had got farther I had liked it and now I know way more about the movement. But I advise, if you are like me who likes action books like the Hunger Games and Divergent then you may not like this book.

The book is written by a young man who was about seven when the movement began. He is the middle kid with one sister younger and one older. It is writ
...more
Jordan Lui
When i finished this book i had mixed feelings, I enjoyed from beginning to end but the execution of such enjoyment was varied. At first when i read about half of it, i hated the main character because he never listen, he was spoiled and was over the top and he believed every thing he did was the right choice, but then i realized he was a kid which excuses it because he was a child, he did not knew that what he did was truly wrong, but it was his parents who taught him that the things he did fro ...more
Graham Houle
This book is a striking and insightful look at Chinese Culture during one of their most energetic and sadly misguided times. This book does not focus on the highest elites, nor the poor peasants. But is told from the perspective of the struggling middle class who like a yo-yo or pendulum were torn back and forth between movements and rebellions. The middle classes and people of China turned against themselves and imploded into civil war and fighting so many times that it stalled and hindered the ...more
Jacque Bona
What an excellent book. My college-age son recommended it, and I'm so glad he did. The author has written his life story of the injustices and inequities of growing up in China with the pace and interest of a novel. He is just a few years older than myself, and I cannot believe his horrible life experiences compared to mine.

People today who think the utopia of a socialist or communist society is where America should veer, should read this book. The freedoms we have are so inherent in the fabric
...more
Karl
Required reading. Not the best writing, but the plot is compelling enough that it's a good read. Covers most of the major political and economic changes and their real world consequences from the 50s to the 70s including the 100 Flowers campaign, the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution from a first person perspective.

Touches on the negative consequences of planned economies, irrational policy making, personality cults and propaganda. Or at least that's how I saw it. I wouldn't put it
...more
John Cassian
This was an incredible nonfiction book that read, at times, like "1984." The Chinese Communist Party encouraged neighbors to turn in their neighbors for being anti-CCP. They encouraged mothers to turn in their children for being anti-CCP. This rings even more true in today's world of cyberwarfare and information leaks like the NSA's Snowden. In fact, the U.S. government is tightening its own controls on whistleblowers by -- you guessed it -- asking friends to turn in their government employee fr ...more
John
gives a nice detailed insight into the struggle people faced under the cultural revolution in a 1st person account. but, the author shares his real motive behind writing this book: '...by experiencing disaster my generation did learn one terribly important thing--the danger that lies in blind obedience.' probably a must read for anyone, especially students, who are forced to take in so much information without having time to process/critique and come up with their own ideas.
Elizabeth
I was assigned either this book or another for my Chinese history class in college. I chose the other, but loved it so much I went back and read this one too. I am fascinated by the Cultural Revolution so Liang's story really intrigued me. I will say, I found the ending a little dissatisfying in its brevity, but other than that it's a captivating true story that illustrates the familial/political/social strains placed on the Chinese during this time.
Zhen Engbrecht
This book is so interesting because it gives a personal account of a person's experiences during the cultural revolution. The descriptions of the political condition, the living condition, and the people in China at that time create multiple moods in the story. It is not a sad book, but a book about a boy developing into a man and all his joys and challenges. Also, I would recommend this to anyone interested in recent Chinese history.
Grace Best-Page
Very illuminating book. It illustrates the universal human condition of wanting to belong and how easily people can be manipulated. People everywhere and throughout all time have been used in the same way due to our penchant for believing what we're told and shutting our eyes to reality. This story helps us understand how the Cultural Revolution could have and did happen and serves as an object lesson for the future. Well worth your time.
Alison
I read this book back in the mid 80's while completing a degree in Mandarin Chinese and Asian Studies. I can honestly say that now, decades later, I am still haunted by some of the events in this book, particularly the heart-breaking description of the family's disintegration and subsequent years of privation. While not for the faint-hearted, I recommend this book for people who wish to understand the Cultural Revolution.
Rebecca
This book follows the author's life as he experiences the major movements in modern Chinese history. His parents are attacked in the Anti-Rightist campaign, he and his family is sent to the countryside during the Cultural Revolution. However, it is not just a story of the movements, it is a story about people and how they were affected by these different campaigns. It makes the history more personal and relatable.
Cindy
I thought it started out slow. I thought I wasn't going to like it but turns out I was wrong. It's an autobiography and the things this poor guy went through...just crazy. It's hard to believe a country would treat it's people like that. This is a book I may not have picked up on my own but it was a book club choice and I'm very glad I read it.
Holly
Feb 19, 2009 Holly rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: modern history students; chinese history students
Recommended to Holly by: course requirement
I had to read this book for a modern world history course but I ended up enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would. Since I didn't know very much about the cultural revolution that went on in China, this was an insightful book. I learned a lot about China and what the history of this period in China was. Very useful book for modern history students.
Emily Wiersma
Always been fascinated by Chinese history and what they have had to endure, especially during the time of Mao's brutish reign. This book gives you an inside look at one man can control peoples individuals lives. The effects of Mao's reign can still be seen today and it makes you wonder not if, but when it will happen in America.
Ryan Long
Important lessons from living under a communist regime. Spent a little too much on the Cultural Revolution, so we don't get to know some of the more interesting details of Liang Heng's life. Of course, we find out why at the very end, but it still would have been nice to know. Good book, though. Highly recommended.
Molly
This was a very reader friendly book in its language and style. I came away with a great deal of knowledge on the everyday life of a "low ranking" Chinese citizen during the 50s, 60s, and 70s. I was blown away by the struggles of the Liang family as well as their neighbors and friends.
Sue
Jun 06, 2011 Sue rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Sue by: Michelle
Shelves: book-club
Read this book for book club. It was a very interesting read. I am so glad I live where I live. I would not want to have had the life that Liang Heng did, but I am glad that he shared his story with us. My rating if I could give fractions, would be 3.5 of 5 stars.
Laura
A compelling memoir of experiences in the Cultural Revolution. Education is undermined, family loyalty is non-existent, and a little boy practically raises himself amidst political turmoil, poverty, familial instability, and constant violence.
Marcie
May 19, 2008 Marcie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone interested in history or China
Recommended to Marcie by: a customer at Borders in Columbus
This was a powerful and compelling tale of a man's journey and survival through Mao's Cultural Revolution. This was recommended by a bookstore customer I had the pleasure of conversing with. I am strongly passing on this recommendation.
John
i can only assume the cover is not made available because the chinese gov't still doesn't know this book exists. it's actually a very powerful depiction of the cultural revolution. i'm glad this book was forced upon me as summer reading.
Erica Poole
Oct 03, 2007 Erica Poole rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Asia buffs
Shelves: deep, nonfiction
I read this one for a class as part of my Asian Studies Minor in college. It made me understand the cultural revolution in a way that I just didn't get in class, it made it real with the true story of a boy who went through it.
Rachel C.
My sister called while I was reading this book...

Me: I'm reading a book about communist China. I'm not liking it.
Sister: Is it because it's badly written, or because it's a downer?
Me: Both.
Maggie
Another book I read for a Poli Sci class and I enjoyed this. An easier read and taught me a lot about Communist China, not only their government system but social system and strata as well.
Kyle
This was a very moving read. By far the most in depth and personal account of the Cultural Revolution that I have read. Socialism scares me to no end and this story only reaffirms that.
Savinipop Savini
This book was the beginning of my fascination with Asia. A first person story of the cultural revolution in China, from the perspective of a child. It's truly amazing to read.
GWC
A rather bitter self-centered memoir of the Cultural Revolution. It becomes most strident when the government interferes with the authors' romance.
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