Out of Mao's Shadow By Philip P. Pan Simon & Schuster; 349 pages
China's past 25 years "have been the best in its 5,000-year history," writes Philip Pan in Out of Mao's Shadow, but it's a schizophrenic sort of success: the country's new prosperity and global clout have gone hand in hand with graft and repression. Pan, a Washington Post correspondent, argues that China's current woes reflect a desire by the Communist Party and ordinary Chinese to forget the lessons of its tragic recent past. Traumas like Mao Zedong's Cultural Revolution left many cynical, disillusioned and willing to exchange freedom for stability and growth.
Pan makes his case through engaging portraits of those who have refused to forget--from causes célèbres like blind legal activist Chen Guangcheng to the villagers and workers who have demanded change in the face of corruption and brutality. As with its past, Pan writes, the Communist Party is still "winning the battle for the nation's future." But his book is a reminder that even in a nation of 1.3 billion people, individuals can make a difference--and that China still has plenty of heroes left.
READ X SKIM TOSS