Caught in a Tornado by James R. Ross

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Author
James R. Ross
Publisher
Northeastern University Press
Date of release
Pages
192
ISBN
9781555531928
Binding
Hardcover
Illustrations
Format
PDF, EPUB, MOBI, TXT, DOC
Rating
4
70

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Caught in a Tornado

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Book review

This is a gripping account by James R. Ross of China's Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution as experienced by Wen Zengde, a Chinese American woman who returned to China in 1956 to teach English at the Shanghai Foreign Languages Institute. Wen's personal story of hope, determination, and survival during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) is the central focus of this riveting volume. Ross places Wen's story within the context of her long and complicated life, and considers the social, political, and cultural forces that shaped the Revolution and its aftermath. Drawing on interviews with Wen and other teachers and students from the Foreign Languages Institute, Ross integrates biography and contemporary history to provide a vivid, compelling picture of the horrifying ordeal suffered by Wen and the victims of the Revolution. Wen endured years of imprisonment, forced labor, interrogations, and beatings. Yet, unlike many of her colleagues, she refused to confess to charges of espionage and survived the brutalities of the Red Guards. A profound sense of justice, gained from her upbringing in the United States, helped Wen resist her tormentors, As Ross noted, Wen "saw China through a prism of both American and Chinese values, an unusual perspective not only on the Cultural Revolution but also on much of twentieth-century China." Wen Zengde (1900-1988) was born to Chinese immigrant parents in San Francisco. She first travelled to China in 1914 after she completed high school, and lived in Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Beijing. After the Cultural Revolution, she returned to Oakland, California.


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