This is unquestionably a klish book to handle at the present moment of high blood pressure over Communist China. And yet it is the most objective and unimpassioned close-up of China under Mao that has been given us. As journalists assigned to cover these pregnant year, journalists with a keen sense of drama, of human interest, of fair play, the authors have succeeded in presenting a portrait of China that rings true. They feel-in final analysis- that here is an accomplished fact, a government in power that represents the majority, not only of the peasants and workers, but of the businessmen, theindustrialists, the intellectuals. That no refusal to recognize Mao's government as the actual government will change the picture. That what we need is to know how Mao has met the terrific problems posed by the aftermath of Chiang's detested autocracy, the disasters of storm and drought and disease, the problems of money, of taxes, of inflation, the need for raw materials to start the wheels of industry and production of the mistakes made and the achievements. They discuss the channels of propaganda,- theatre, films, movies, press, story tellers; the steps in education designed to eliminate illiteracy- and again the errors and the accomplishments. Part of the picture is perhaps over-optimistic, as one gets a feeling that much of the trial and error is behind them, and only the crisis of war clouds hampering their advance. Over-optimistic, too, the impression that Soviet tutelage and intervention is temporary, though the authors support their thesis with convincing evidence. In analyzing the foreign policy, they turn back to a history of China throttled by foreign powers, fearful equally of a democracy identified with imperialism, or a Soviet that may wish to extend influence too far. The concessions Moscow has apparently made seem hopeful signs to the Chinese, a reaffirmation of Chinese sovereignty, while the actions of the Western powers seem to be closing them in with a cordon sanitaire. The authors feel that in the future we'll continue to lose battles and alienate former allies if we do not learn to read the significance of the Chinese Revolution. Challenging and controversial. Watch it.