Magazine article New Internationalist

Bitter Winds: A Memoir of My Years in China's Gulag

Magazine article New Internationalist

Bitter Winds: A Memoir of My Years in China's Gulag

Article excerpt

These two books make good reading as a pair, for one casts light on the other. Elisabeth Croll's From Heaven to Earth draws on her trips to China over the past few years to monitor projects in areas from which Western visitors are generally banned. Part of the book is a detailed totting up of the resources and income of different villages. But of greater interest to the general reader are her introduction on collective dreams and concluding chapters on the status of sons and daughters under a notional one - child policy, now largely disregarded in the countryside. Outsiders and visitors to China are perplexed by what Croll calls 'the rhetoric of heaven... which denied existing deprivation, hierarchies and individual interests separate from those of the collective'. Croll's thought - provoking introduction uses personal anecdote, contemporary literature and her detailed knowledge of the culture to explain that reforms are a great deal more complex than a return to capitalism, or as the Chinese put it: 'We have finally come back from Heaven to Earth'. This brilliant introductory essay goes a long way towards unlocking what for many Westerners has been most puzzling about China. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.