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The Secret Listener An Ingenue in Mao's Court

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2022-01-05
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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A personal account of life in the orbit of Mao and Zhao En-Lai and one woman's effort to tell what it was like to be at the center of the storm.

The history of China in the twentieth century is comprised of a long series of shocks: the 1911 revolution, the civil war between the communists and the nationalists, the Japanese invasion, the revolution, the various catastrophic campaigns initiated by Chairman Mao between 1949 and 1976, its great opening to the world under Deng, and the Tiananmen Square Massacre.

Yuan-tsung Chen, who is now 90, lived through most of it, and at certain points in close proximity to the seat of communist power. Born in Shanghai in 1929, she came to know Zhou En-Lai-second only to Mao in importance--as a young girl while living in Chongqing, where Chiang Kai--Shek's government had relocated to, during the war against Japan. That connection to Zhou helped her save her husband's life in Cultural Revolution. After the communists took power, she obtained a job in one of the culture ministries. While there, she frequently engaged with the upper echelon of the party and was a first-hand witness to some of the purges that the regime regularly initiated. Eventually, the commissar she worked under was denounced in 1957, and she barely escaped being purged herself. Later, during Cultural Revolution, she and her husband were purged and sent to live in a rough, poor area. She and her husband finally moved to Hong Kong, with Zhou's special permission, in 1971.

A first-hand account of what life was like in the period before the revolution and in Mao's China, The Secret Listener gives a unique perspective on the era, and Chen's vantage point provides us with a new perspective on the Maoist regime-one of the most radical political experiments in modern history and a force that genuinely changed the world.

Author Biography

Yuan-tsung Chen is a former official under Mao in the 1950s. She is also the author of the novel The Dragon's Village and a winning survivor from Maoism.

Table of Contents

Opening Shot

The First Part: Before the Year of 1949
Chapter 1: My Family and Myself
Chapter 2: My First Beau
Chapter 3: The Broadening of My Horizon
Chapter 4: Stumbling into a Larger World

The Second Part: After the Year of 1949
Chapter 5: In Mao's Beijing
Chapter 6: Outside the Great Wall, By the Blue Danube
Chapter 7: I Felt It Was Me on Trial
Chapter 8: A Purge in Reverse
Chapter 9: A Reverse of the Reverse: The Anti-Rightists Purge

The Third Part: The Great Leap Forward
Chapter 10: A Leap from the Magical Circle into Mao's Great Famine
Chapter 11: A VIP Pig
Chapter 12: From Black Market to Fake Bumper Harvest
Chapter 13: Between the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution

The Fourth Part: The Cultural Revolution
Chapter 14: The Mob Rule
Chapter 15: The Mob Rule Continued
Chapter 16: Intrigues in a Slum House
Chapter 17: Forced into Exile and Fought back


Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?

The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

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