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Red-Color News Soldier Paperback – October 1, 2003
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Top Customer Reviews
Starting from the beginnings of the "revolution" in 1964-1966, we are taken through from the initial scenes of relative calmness to the all-out assault on those "bourgeois" elements within Heilongjiang province by the time of 1972-1976. I took a look at the images and could not believe how humanity could do these things to its own. Thank goodness that Li Zhensheng (with Robert Pledge and Jacques Menasche) make mention that only in 1981 did China suddenly realise that the Cultural Revolution did not really achieve anything but set China backwards.
There are between 300-400 prints in this book that were culled from over 30,000 negatives taken by Li to New York. If the images in this pictorial story are anything to go by, God only knows what those other 29,600-29,700+ negatives contain. Definitely one to buy for your collection. Recommended without any hesitation.
The photographs are, of course, contemporary accounts of the living through that period, and consequently have the power to shock significantly. The "struggle session" photographs of senior party leaders undergoing "self-criticism" are particularly horrific. The concluding photographs of a "victor" of the Cultural Revolution on her way to her execution after the restoration of a more normal society also have a big impact - though curiously there is a sense of the pathetic about the woman that Li captures.
The photography merits a 5 star rating, the text probably a three. The images are a valuable insight into the strength of emotion in that remarkable period.
The photographs capture the revolution's sudden grip and the mass hysteria that went along with it. There is some pretty stark imagery of public humiliations, of forced "self-criticisms," of rampaging Red Guards, of executions.
There must nearly be around 300 prints or so. A stunning collection that is perhaps a required addition to the library of any Chinese, and a proud addition to everyone else's.
That said, Li's photos are compelling and shocking in their own right. The Cultural Revolution is a period that many in China's current leadership would prefer to simply forget, without any retrospective analysis of Mao's role in the mania of the time. "Madness" would be an appropriate description, a term deficient only in its mildness.
In addition to the pictures, Li provides an autobiography, giving a personal depth to the experience that -- to me -- was just as affecting as the pictures he took. His stories of loss and pain underscore the humanity of what he saw, and prevent readers from distancing themselves from the subjects.
One thing I would like to see is a clearer rendering of the hanja in the title -- as a student of Chinese, I'd have liked to learn more about the language from the pictures. Then again, I suppose that's not the book's true purpose anyway.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
For anyone interested in learning more about the Cultural Revolution and Mao's China, this book contains rare photographic documentation of the times, done by a young... Read morePublished 5 months ago by David Blumenkrantz
It's not only meant for the people in photography world but also for the people who are interested in politics & power in the era of Mao-De-Zong.Published 22 months ago by Suvendu Chatterjee
Excellent compilation of photos
Narrative triggers interest to learn more
Recommended for, both photos and accounting
Well Done, Mr. Li.
The book contains truly unique photos! I also salute to the editor Robert Pledge for the great selection and the whole rhythm of the book. Read morePublished on November 21, 2012 by Peter fath
Things can go horribly wrong in China. The current leadership seems wise, but they still revere the instigator of the cultural revolution. Read morePublished on December 15, 2010 by Jackal