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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 265

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.

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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.

Form and Content

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 389

With the collaboration of Judith Shapiro, Liang Heng has written one of the most memorable and accessible autobiographies to have emerged from China’s “lost generation,” which came of age during the chaotic decade of the Cultural Revolution (19661976). Son of the Revolution follows a basically chronological format, beginning with a chapter about Liang’s late-1950’s childhood memories of politically related tensions between his father and mother (“Chairman Mao’s Good Little Boy”) and concluding with an account of his marriage in 1980 to one of his English instructors at Hunan Teacher’s College in Changsha (“Teacher Xia, the American Expert”).

At the same time, the account of Liang’s youth and early adulthood is shaped by a topical presentation, as the more colorful of the book’s twenty-four chapter titles would suggest. “The New Long March” recounts that, in the face of school closings nationwide in 19661968, huge bands of unsupervised teenagers and even preteens would march for hundreds of miles...

(The entire section contains 654 words.)

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