Son of the Revolution

by Liang Heng, Judith Shapiro

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Critical Context

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While Son of the Revolution is not a highly nuanced attempt to make sense of the origins and aftermath of the Cultural Revolution, it succeeds in providing the reader with a gripping and accessible introduction to a vital but often-baffling period in China’s history. Young adult readers will find Liang’s youthful perspective particularly engaging, as the book primarily offers children’s and teenagers’ views of their turbulent societal surroundings. Academic jargon and highly abstract hypotheses have no place in Son of the Revolution, which could be characterized as lively and almost conversational in its unpretentiousness.

Liang’s ability to emerge more or less emotionally unscathed from the ruins of a broken home must embody a certain amount of universal appeal. Although the China in which he came of age and that he describes will shock the reader from time to time, this autobiography’s portrayal of the resilience of the human spirit makes reading it a truly uplifting experience.

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