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Enemies of the People Hardcover – February 12, 1987


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 323 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; 1st edition (February 12, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394555813
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394555812
  • Product Dimensions: 9.7 x 6.6 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,102,913 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Thurston's vivid and vigorous look at China's Cultural Revolution does not attempt to match the epic social sweep of Jonathan Spence's classic The Gate of Heavenly Peace. The author, a China scholar whose insights into Chinese history are enriched by many visits to Beijing in recent years, focuses almost exclusively on the consequences of Mao's disastrous political ploy initiated in 1966-67 the impact of the Cultural Revolution's excesses on "intellectuals," who by definition were viewed as "enemies of the people." Through interviews she presents a bruising picture of what happened to academics and others (including ranking Communist cadres) who were harassed, beaten and ultimately imprisoned or banished to the countryside among a frightened peasantry. These individual portraits are often numbing in their poignancy and together they comprise a re-creation warm with life.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

There are several personal accounts of the Cultural Revolution, e.g.,Yue Daiyun and Carolyn Wakeman's To the Storm ( LJ 11/1/86), but until now no one has attempted a broader study of how the Cultural Revolution affected the whole intellectual stratum in China. Thurston's approach is based on interviews with about 50 Chinese intellectuals. She sees the Cultural Revolution as an example of mass psychosis during which almost everyone in government, higher education, and the arts suffered denunciation, betrayals, family separations, and some form of imprisonment. She concludes "the dominant legacy of the Cultural Revolution is the invisible wounds, the slow, silent screams" of its victims. After all her research however, something of the Cultural Revolution remains inexplicable. Similar in quality and tone to the works of Robert Jay Lifton, this leaves the reader to speculate about the ultimate causes of mass psychosis. David D. Buck, History Dept., Univ. of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Kelley Hunt on May 11, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book examines how Mao's hatred of intellectuals resulted in the torture and murder of millions. The author explores the events leading up to the Cultural Revolution, how and why it happened, and the aftermath of a tragic decade in Chinese history. Because this book is based on interviews conducted with people who lived through the Cultural Revolution, it gives a lot of insight into what was going on in the minds of the Chinese populace. There are many remarkable stories here of cowardice & heroism, cruelty & kindness, suicide & the awesome determination to survive. This book is a must for anyone wanting to better understand the Chinese people and the Cultural Revolution.
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