A true “fly-on-the-wall” account of the momentous changes in Chinese society and international relations over the last...

THE MAN ON MAO’S RIGHT

FROM HARVARD YARD TO TIANANMEN SQUARE, MY LIFE INSIDE CHINA’S FOREIGN MINISTRY

Longtime translator for Zhou Enlai and Mao Zedong recounts his arduous and ultimately vindicating life’s journey through some of China’s darkest decades.

Landowners from Shanxi province and early communist sympathizers, Ji’s parents escaped the turmoil of the Japanese invasion and civil war by fleeing to New York in 1939 on the urging of Zhou Enlai, who had been a teenaged friend of Ji’s much older brother, Chaoding. While Ji excelled at Horace Mann-Lincoln and earned a scholarship to Harvard, learning perfect English and growing to love his adopted country, Chaoding was working for the Kuomintang’s minister of finance and feeding secrets to Zhou and the communists. The political winds shifted by 1949, when the victorious communists established the People’s Republic of China and the Cold War ensured that Ji was no longer welcome in America. He began his incredible roller-coaster career in China as a Foreign Ministry official and had his biggest moment on the world stage when he served as interpreter for Zhou and Mao during President Nixon’s visit in 1972. Initially an enthusiastic Communist Party member, he first began to have doubts about Mao’s increasingly absurd policies during the purges of the Anti-Rightist Campaign of the 1950s. They increased when Ji saw the mass chaos and starvation caused by the Great Leap Forward in 1958–60, followed by the violent zealotry of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, beginning in 1966. Ji’s Western education and his wife’s Taiwan connections branded him a “capitalist roader,” and he was periodically sent to shovel pig manure in the countryside to atone for this sin. He endured the relentless cycle of purges and rehabilitation with equanimity and grace, serving in diplomatic posts in London and at the UN in New York, eventually fashioning this brave, beautifully written testimony with the editorial assistance of ghostwriter Foster Winans, who reworked the Chinese-language text published in 1999.

A true “fly-on-the-wall” account of the momentous changes in Chinese society and international relations over the last century.

Pub Date: July 22, 2008

ISBN: 978-1-4000-6584-4

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2008

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

Did you like this book?

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 21

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

more