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The Book of Secrets: Book summary and reviews of The Book of Secrets by Xinran Xue

The Book of Secrets

A Personal History of Betrayal in Red China

by Xinran Xue

The Book of Secrets by Xinran Xue X
The Book of Secrets by Xinran Xue
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  • Published Apr 2024
    320 pages
    Genre: Biography/Memoir

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Book Summary

The story of a family in modern China with a history of deceit, betrayal and political intrigue, and the communist party's long shadow over them, from the Cultural Revolution to today.

Following the lives of military intelligence officer Jie and his wife Moon, The Book of Secrets weaves recently found material into a narrative that not only illuminates the shadowy world of intelligence in China, but also the emotional tragedies that political extremism inflicted on those working within.

Drawing on Jie's own vivid biography of his youth, Xinran pieces together his trajectory as he joins the great hope of the Chinese young – the Communist Party – and becomes a loyal cadre until the late 1970s when, as a chief in the security forces, he makes a decision that will poison his family against him.

This is a totally unique behind-the-scenes account of a family torn apart by the Tiananmen Square massacre and the attempts of Jie to finally open up the Chinese system to the people, pieced together from an extraordinary archive of personal diaries and letters.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"[E]nthralling...The surreal lyricism of a spymaster's secret diary coupled with the behind-the-scenes look at China's intelligence apparatus makes for addictive reading. Readers will be hooked." ―Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"The Book of Secrets [is] a particularly rare thing: a candid, insider account showing just how much the party knew and how much it covered up." ―The Spectator

"An extraordinary firsthand account of Communist Party machinery at its most brutal and paranoid." ―Sunday Telegraph

"The Book Of Secrets is the remarkable story of [a] deeply dysfunctional family." ―Mail on Sunday

"No one has done more than Xinran to tell the truth about the lives of ordinary people in twentieth-century China. Her Book of Secrets is a tale of horror, redeemed as always by the story-teller's warmth, grace and narrative grip." ―Hilary Spurling, author of Burying the Bones

"An extraordinary book of huge historical interest and value, exactly the kind of book that the Western world needs to read, to understand the complexity of the Chinese political worldview since 1949." ―Julia Lovell, author of Maoism: A Global History

This information about The Book of Secrets was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Xinran Xue Author Biography

Xinran is a British-Chinese author, journalist and activist. She was the host of a pioneering Chinese radio show 'Words on the Night Breeze,' which invited women to discuss their issues live on air. Her first book, The Good Women of China (2002), recounted some of these stories and has been translated into over thirty languages.

Link to Xinran Xue's Website

Name Pronunciation
Xinran Xue: Shu-ay Shin-Ran

Other books by Xinran Xue at BookBrowse
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