Friday, July 25, 2008

You should buy this book

When I went home for my sister's graduation in May my friend Julia at Simon & Schuster gave me a copy of one of her new books, "Out of Mao's Shadow" by Phillip P. Pan. I read it non-stop on my flight back to Beijing, unable to put it down mainly because it answers the question Ethan and I have been repeatedly asking ourselves and each other during our time in China: where are all the voices of dissent? Do they exist? Pan's answer: yes, they do. His book chronicles the stories of a number of individuals who in one way or another have gone up against the government and not backed down. Included are the stories of the doctor who blew the lid off SARS and later spent time under house arrest for speaking up against the Tiannamen massacre, a disillusioned young communist revolutionary who died in prison and was famous for the poetry she left behind written in her own blood, and a journalist who opted for prison instead of towing the party line...and many more.

For anyone interested in finding out more about where China's been and where it's going this book is a must read. I loved it - and Ethan's loving it now.

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