Form and Content

(Survey of Young Adult Fiction)

Chou En-lai is a giant in modern Chinese and world history—a great revolutionary, military strategist, diplomat, and statesman who was well loved by the people and highly respected by his friends and foes alike.

In Chou En-lai, Jules Archer portrays his subject’s accomplishments and personality against the panoramic history of Chinese revolution and socialist reconstruction. He traces Chou’s life journey from his birth in 1898, when China was shaken by a democratic revolution led by Sun Yat-sen against the decadent Manchu Dynasty, to his survival of the Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1976, which brought China to the verge of self-destruction.

Despite his family background as a well-to-do mandarin, Chou started his revolutionary career when he was a high school student; he was put in jail for leading a student demonstration against the warlord government. After being released, Chou sailed for France, where he pursued the study of Marxism and organized a Chinese Communist Youth Corps. Returning to China a seasoned revolutionary in 1925, he was to shape the major historical events in modern Chinese history. Chou held a leading position in Sun Yat-sen’s united front of Communists and Nationalists against warlords; organized a large-scale uprising of workers in Shanghai, gaining control of the biggest city in China; together with Chu Te, founded the Chinese Red Army; shared with Mao Tse-tung the command of the unprecedented Long...

(The entire section is 503 words.)