A flat documentary presentation of the mammoth social upheaval of 20th-century China. At first Chai seems to be leaning toward Chiang Kai-shek; he blames the Kuomintang massacres of Communist forces in the 1920's on the Communists. But thereafter Chai becomes an implicit partisan of Mao as against other factional leaders like the super-proletarian Li Li-san, or Chou En-lai and his group of ""Returned Students."" Chai accurately explains how little Marx has ever been read by Mao, and how the majority of quotations, pragmatically chosen, come from Stalin. But Chai remains humorlessly respectful toward Mao's ""rectification campaigns,"" with names like ""Three Fixes and One Substitution"" and ""Four Withs""; he blames intellectuals for resisting them. Chai even reprints without comment the official version of Lin Piao's death written by the pro-Maoist journalist Wilfred Burchett. The poverty of Chinese Communist theory is described as the ""Sinification of Communism,"" although Mao's ""New Democracy"" policy of including local capitalists in the government was in fact old Comintern policy. Chai sprinkles the book with party programs and short sketches of leaders which will tell the average Western reader little. An appendix contains the 1969 Chinese Communist Party Constitution, Mao's 1971 talk with ""responsible comrades,"" a denunciation of Lin Piao, and other thudding but historically significant documents. A minor, rather uncritical addition to the past decade's spate of China books.