CHINA: The Revolution Continued by Jan & Gun Kessle Myrdal

CHINA: The Revolution Continued

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Based on a two-week return visit to the village of Liu Ling in 1969, this sequel to the 1962 Report from a Chinese Village finds Myrdal and his wife unguarded partisans of the Chinese revolution and firm proponents of Mao's thought. Their judgment is based on this village alone; events past or recent in the rest of China (such as the industrial slump, the university closings, the transportation foulup, Mao's political history and foreign policy) are ignored. Since 1962 Liu Ling has made extraordinary strides: a doubled grain output, abundant apple-tree and diversified vegetable planting, wells, new houses, a health plan and a big surplus boasted by the commune. But most compelling, the Myrdals find, were the revitalizing and democratizing effects of the Cultural Revolution, which arrived in 1966 in the persons of the Red Guards en route from Peking to Yenan. Their presence stimulated discussion and presently the elimination of the bureaucracy and favoritism instigated by those ""taking the capitalist road."" Myrdal asks the reader to accept The Thought of Mao at face value, ignoring the Cultural Revolution's tendency to denigrate intellectual effort and its encomia to physical labor, which had the very practical purpose of making people work harder. Romantic, impressionistic, perhaps at times self-delusory, the book never hedges its biases. Most eyewitness reports of the Cultural Revolution have focused on the cities without penetrating village life; this one offers a direct closeup of contemporary accounts Americans still know little about, made additionally valuable by the 1962 comparison-point and Gun Kessle's photographs. An excerpt from the book appeared in Look magazine.

Pub Date: Jan. 11th, 1970
Publisher: Pantheon