Coming Alive (Magill's Literary Annual 1982)
The recent history of China is filled with traumatic change, having begun with the deaths of Zhou Enlai and Mao Zedong in 1976. To record these changes, Roger Garside has written an eyewitness account of major developments in the four years that followed. Closely observing Hua Guofeng, successor to Chairman Mao Zedong, and Deng Xiaoping, architect of China’s Four Modernizations program, he follows the policy changes with narrative and political analysis. He is clearly optimistic, as the title of his book suggests, and he senses a broad popular demand for China’s liberalization and modernization designed to end Soviet-style totalitarianism.
From his vantage point as First Secretary of the British Embassy in Beijing, and with language facility and the experience of an earlier residence in China, the author has ably recorded the events, the people, and the emotions surrounding the angry crowds at Tienanmen Square, when the memorial wreaths honoring Zhou Enlai in April, 1979 were removed, and the ecstatic throng at Democracy Wall tasted freedom of expression. Garside adds a further dimension to his observations by interviewing major participants in these events, utilizing published sources where available, and making comparisons to earlier periods, particularly the Cultural Revolution, 1966-1969. The human response to the policy changes that caused these events is important to assess the effect of such changes, and Garside performs this task credibly. His...
(The entire section is 1370 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1982)
Best Sellers. XLI, May, 1981, p. 63.
Choice. XVIII, July, 1981, p. 1605.
Christian Science Monitor. LXXIII, July 8, 1981, p. 17.
The Economist. CCLXXX, July 11, 1981, p. 94.
Library Journal. CVI, March 1, 1981, p. 556.
National Review. XXXIII, February 20, 1981, p. 172.
The New York Times Book Review. LXXXVI, April 12, 1981, p. 9.
School Librarian. XXIX, September, 1981, p. 267.
Times Literary Supplement. July 10, 1981, p. 788.
(The entire section is 49 words.)