THE WIND WILL NOT SUBSIDE: Years in Revolutionary China by Nancy & David Milton

THE WIND WILL NOT SUBSIDE: Years in Revolutionary China

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KIRKUS REVIEW

We-saw-the-Cultural-Revolution"" memoirs by English teachers have proliferated. This one has an exceptional clarity about the origins and nature of the upheavals the authors witnessed from Peking in 1964-1969. Despite their admiration for Chairman Mao, the Miltons discuss at length his 1965 refusal to fully aid the Vietnamese, and his desire to ""conciliate"" the Americans--as opposed to Chinese army leaders like General Lo Jui-ching, who publicly affirmed readiness to unite with the Soviets against the drastic anti-Communist assaults of the US. Mao reportedly was telling American liaison Edgar Snow that the Americans would ""Fred it [Vietnam] boring"" after ""one or two years,"" so he need do nothing. The Miltons chart Mao's preliminary purge of the army, his formation of an anti-party ""Cultural Group,"" and his effort to mobilize disaffected social groups against his party opponents. This tactic, the book notes, became ""a Pandora's box"": the contract workers' organization which the Maoists had mobilized eventually had to be outlawed as a ""counterrevolutionary"" group. After a major Maoist victory in forcing the mass uprising of Shanghai industrial workers to forgo material benefits, the Miltons and other foreigners were politely or impolitely pushed away from the scene, and the book becomes rather shapeless. But finally the Mao faction regrouped the demoralized party, the youthful enrages, and the army, and was able to declare in 1969 that the US was only a minor enemy, the Soviets being the chief threat. Then came Nixon. The book gives a fresh empirical sense of how domestic policy questions were bypassed during the infighting--and how the battle produced a new, clear foreign policy. An excellent entry in the publisher's Asia Library.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1976
Publisher: Pantheon