The number of American and European observers who have had access to Communist China has been sharply limited, and frequently their opinions have been colored by preformed judgment. That this is true of Simone de Beauvoir, the French existentialist (author of The and The Second Sex), is an inevitable weakness in this record. She has- to put it mildly-a definite "fellow-traveler" angle, an unquestioning acceptance of what she sees and hears. She spent but six weeks in China, knew no word of Chinese, and was for the greater part under the tutelage of a government courier. Strangely enough, she acknowledges that when she went to Peking from the Bandung conference in 1955 (this year marks the majority of other journalists' writings, too) she had little background on Chinese history, that most of what is included in long asides in this book, was acquired later. Regard this book as the report of a sympathetic intellectual, viewing China through the eyes of Red China's directives, reporting on her impressions, on the agrarian reforms on industrialization; sharply critical of any survival of China's past that ignored the interests of the people. Definitely for those who agree with her viewpoint- and for her following.