TO THE STORM: The Odyssey of a Revolutionary Chinese Woman by Daiyun & Carolyn Wakeman Yue

TO THE STORM: The Odyssey of a Revolutionary Chinese Woman

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Yue Daiyan is a highly-placed Chinese intellectual who survived, though certainly not unscathed, the Cultural Revolution (1965-75). This is her personal story, much of it in her own words, of the harrowing persecution she and her family were subjected to when the political tide turned and engulfed them. Her story opens in 1957. She is a professor at the respected Beijing University, a somewhat powerful party official, married to the son of a former president of the university. Her life is good indeed. She has just given birth to her son when she first learns she is to be called before party members to be criticized as a political dissident. The charges are nonsensical, but as a victim of changing political climes she is sentenced to hard labor in the countryside and her family is encouraged to disown her. But far worse is to come. When she returns to assume a lowly and suspect postion at the university, Mae Zeodong, in order to regain his grip on the party leadership, instigates the Cultural Revolution. China's youth, given the mandate to purge the party of ""enemies of the people,"" namely the intellectuals who Mae perceives as posing a threat to him, institute a far-reaching reign of terror. As the revolution finally draws to a close, her husband unwillingly becomes a trusted member of the circle around Jiang Qing and the Gang of Four. With the downfall of Qing, her family is once again plunged into national disgrace. Somehow, though, they survive this final, climatic episode to become respected party members again. Yue Daiyun's story is fascinating, particularly since hers is a perspective never before offered to Western readers. The cultural insight she provides is as compelling as her outrageous life and times.

Pub Date: Nov. 4th, 1985
ISBN: 0520060296
Publisher: Univ. of California Press