A candid memoir of the author's participation in China's Cultural Revolution—as well as a cautionary tale about youthful patriotic excess. Daughter of two dedicated Communists, Zhai (now a teacher in Canada) was a high-school student when the Cultural Revolution began. But even before that cataclysm, she explains, all aspects of Chinese life had been politicized. Young urban schoolchildren had to help with the harvest; indoctrination was incessant; and status was determined by one's family's political standing: As the child of low-ranking ``common office staff,'' the author was ignored by her teachers until her father was promoted. Ambitious, and determined to be a ``progressive''—the approved ranking—she was an ideal candidate for membership in the Red Guard when, in 1966, Mao set in motion the events that led not to only years of turmoil but to the destruction of a whole generation of gifted young Chinese. Zhai chillingly describes how, as a 15-year-old, she exhorted her school's detachment of Red Guards to root out class enemies; conducted humiliating self-criticism sessions of faculty and neighbors; and participated in fatal beatings. Her zeal was soon tempered not only by growing personal disquiet but by her political disillusionment, as she saw the Red Guards purged and replaced by even more revolutionary groups. By now, all education had stopped, and the author was sent with classmates to work with the peasants. Back-breaking work and bad food affected her health, and she despaired of ever going to college, since students were expected to live in the fields permanently. In time, though, Zhai moved on to factory work and was nominated for higher education. She admits that she was lucky—and that many of her peers weren't so fortunate. A searing tale of a regime that, in the name of patriotism, cynically manipulated the ideals of its most vulnerable members and then effectively ruined them—and a brutally frank mea culpa as well.

Pub Date: May 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-939149-83-4

Page Count: 245

Publisher: Soho

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1993

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

Did you like this book?


From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

Did you like this book?