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Red Azalea by Anchee Min
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Apr 06, 09

bookshelves: memoirs
Read in October, 2004

Anchee Min was 9 years old, she was the perfect revolutionary and had memorized Mao's 'Little Red Book'. Anchee Min, in 1966 was caught up in the Cultural Revolution that had begun to turn Chinese society inside out.

Min was too young to understand public criticisms and thought she was fighting for the "final peace of the plant." She then found the hardship and brutality of oppression catching up with her.

Min was sent to serve the revolution as a peasant when she was 17 years old. She left her family in Shanghai and joined the Advanced Seventh Company to plant rice near the East China Sea. She was forced to work 16 hour days in muddy, dirty, leech filled water.

Min eventually had an opportunity to leave this harrowing work driven farm for what she hoped will be a better life.

I don't want to tell too much more of the story but Red Azalea is an immensely moving memoir of the time. Min tells the story without anger against the Communist Party and Chinese government.
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