My reaction was one of intrigue and horror at the way China always treated her intellectuals and insurrectionists. The book details the philosophers, writers, and historians impact on the creation of modern Chinese history as well as what the ruling government reacted to them.
I would recommend it, because it is a menagerie of exciting history, life of the Chinese, its passionate expression of human art and expression. It provides insight into the conflict between the state and its cultural heroes. The setting is based in China, but it ties in the worldwide impact of Chinese abroad and other countries on Modern history. The story begins with the origin of the refuting, goes to the cultural revolution, leads to the evolution of the Red Guards and culminates in the present. It involves the history of Kang YouWei, Maotse Tung, and Xu Zhimo. The purpose is to show how old and new China has transformed and symbolized by the Gate of Heavenly Peace.
The illustrations shows pictures of the characters that are relevant as well as quotations from the characters writings and autobiographical allusions. Mr. Johnathan D. Spence is a professor of history at Yale University and has been a prolific writer on modern China and this book is a great example of his know edge and writing.
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