Son of the Revolution

by Liang Heng, Judith Shapiro

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Last Updated September 5, 2023.

Son of the Revolution is an autobiographical account of Liang Heng's life as he grew up during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. In a time of political and cultural instability, his entire family was ripped apart and changed entirely.

While Liang's parents initially believed that they would be fine after the dust from the revolution had settled due to the fact that they both had jobs that would carry over from one regime to another, they soon found out otherwise. Liang's mother was banished and sent to a re-education camp for speaking out against communist leader Mao Zedong, and the rest of the family was separated and sent to live in the country as farmers instead of continuing the relatively well-to-do life they once enjoyed.

This story is important because it gives readers a look at the Cultural Revolution from the inside. Most historians speak of this period in history in dry, objective tones, but Heng's book forces us to take a look at it up close, and very personal. The Cultural Revolution changed China as a whole, but this book is telling the audience to look closer, and see how it changed the lives of individuals as well. In particular, it has the audience take a look at the fact that, in spite of all the pain and anguish he was causing the people of China, there were still many people who fervently supported Mao Zedong, including Heng's father, who lost everything he had. This more intimate way of looking at the Cultural Revolution changed the way that many people saw it as a whole.

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