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China Witness: Book summary and reviews of China Witness by Xinran Xue

China Witness

Voices from a Silent Generation

by Xinran Xue

China Witness by Xinran Xue X
China Witness by Xinran Xue
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  • Published Feb 2009
    448 pages
    Genre: Biography/Memoir

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Book Summary

From the highly praised author of The Good Woman of China and Sky Burial--an extraordinary work of oral history that illuminates the diverse ways in which the Chinese perceive and understand their own modern history.

While the West has commonly viewed the last one hundred years in China through the single narrative lens of Mao’s rise and rule, the experience of this same period for the Chinese themselves has been infinitely more complex, and little understood. And perhaps no one is more capable of tapping into the true narrative of this time than Xinran, a national celebrity and beloved figure in China by virtue of her hugely popular radio show, which aired in the 1990s.

In 2005 and 2006, Xinran traveled across China seeking out the nation’s grandparents and great-grandparents, the men and women who have experienced change in the modern era firsthand. In cities and remote villages, Xinran spoke with members of these generations from all tiers of society, interviewing them for the first and perhaps last time. And though most of them continue to harbor a fear of repercussions for speaking freely, they spoke to Xinran with stunning candor about their hopes, fears, and struggles, and about what they’ve witnessed: from the Long March to land reform, from Mao to marriage, from revolution to Westernization.

In the same way that Studs Terkel’s Working and Tom Brokaw’s The Greatest Generation gave us the essence of very particular times, China Witness gives us the essence of modern China--a portrait more intimate, nuanced, and revelatory than any we have had before.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"[A] stirring, startlingly honest account of life under Chairman Mao and the current reformers revamping the socialist state." - Publishers Weekly.

"Prolix, tangential and engrossing, Xinran's interviews offer an invaluable social history that textbooks don't reveal." - Kirkus Reviews.

This information about China Witness 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
  • Sky Burial jacket
  • Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother jacket
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