Red Scarf Girl: A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution

Red Scarf Girl: A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution I Have Never Doubted What I Was Told Heaven And Earth Are Great, But Greater Still Is The Kindness Of The Communist Part Father And Mother Are Dear, But Dearer Still Is Chairman Mao In Ji Li Jian Was Years Old And Oustanding Student And A Leader Of Her Class, She Had Everything Brains, Ability, The Admiration Of Her Peers And A Shining Future In Chairman Mao S New China But All That Changed With The Advent Of The Cultural Revolution, When Intelligence Became A Crime And A Wealthy Family Background Invited Persecution Or Worse For The Next Few Years Ji Li And Her Family Were Humilated And Reviled By Their Former Friends, Neighbors And Colleagues And Lived In Constant Terror Of Arrest At Last, With The Detention Of Her Father, Ji Li Was Faced With The Most Dreadful Decision Of Her Life Denounce Him, Or Refuse To Testify And Sacrifice Her Future In Her Beloved Communist PartyTold With Simplicity, Innocence And Grace, This Unforgettable Memoir Gives A Child S Eye View Of A Terrifying Time In Th Century History And Of One Family S Indomitable Courage Under Fire

Coming from Shanghai, China in 1984, where she used to be a school science teacher, author Ji li Jiang studied in Hawaii then worked as a corporate Operations Analyst and Budgeting Director for several years In 1992, she co founded East West Exchange, Inc, a company created to promote and facilitate cultural and business exchanges between China and the western countries.Ji li s first book, Red Sc

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  • Hardcover
  • 304 pages
  • Red Scarf Girl: A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution
  • Ji-li Jiang
  • English
  • 08 October 2018
  • 9780780789753

10 thoughts on “Red Scarf Girl: A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution

  1. says:

    Terror seen through the eyes of a twelve year old girl, this is a memoir of the Cultural Revolution as much as a truly harrowing horror story where relatives friends betray each other for no reason The zombification of the Chinese under Mao s rule is distinctively awful, a mindset and time that must never be repeated but under Trump s potential presidency, possibly might Oracle time wow do I feel dumb now.

  2. says:

    What to say about thissometimes I have to resist the urge to review every book that I read Then I think about the fact that I didn t review it, and I think, Oh, just review it Say something Say anything Not that people are just waiting to read what I and everyone else thought of it, but I feel that I should at least say something about it After all, people do search for books to read and all the reviews pop up underneath them, so if they are interested enough to click on this book, they are likely interested enough to read what people said about it.The reason that I picked up this book in the first place was because I wanted to read about the Chinese Cultural Revolution, and it was suggested to me by a friend of a friend She knew I was looking for general information rather than one person s account, but she suggested it because there is not much literature out there about that period of China s history.Here are some random thoughts The book was very YA, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but it wasn t quite what I was looking for.The intensity with which the people in Shanghai, where Jiang lived, jumped on the bandwagon of abolishing the Four Olds was terrifying With a few well turned phrases, it was very easy for people to argue that something was Four Olds As a consequence, almost anything could, and was, considered as such In particular, the kids Jiang s age were frenzied in their judgments both in school and around town.In school, families such as Jiang s that were unlucky enough to be considered black rather than red had it the worst They were ridiculed, they got into fights, and their belongings were taken by other children They were denied many opportunities, which included admission to schools they might have otherwise attended.At home, the Red Guard came in and destroyed where they lived while looking for items that were considered Four Olds Before they arrived, Jiang s family burned photos and clothing, repainted furniture, but still the Red Guard found and confiscated many of their belongings.All in all, I enjoyed reading about Ji Li Jiang s transformation from a young woman blindly following Chairman Mao s edicts, to first questioning the Revolution when her family was affected, and ultimately opposing it and leaving China to move to the United States But Yes, the havoc that the Chinese Cultural Revolution wrought on families was frightening Yes, it was terrible what happened to Jiang and her family, but I wonder what kind of person she would have become had she been part of one of the lucky red families I wonder if there would have been a memoir at all.

  3. says:

    A revealing tale of how people will gradually allow and of their freedoms to be taken away when they are pitted one against another That was Mao s genius keep the masses in constant revolt between classes Mao was so revered that, as a youth, the author questioned her parents rather than the establishment Her response to the difficult choice forced upon her to choose her family or the party is a powerful lesson A well written book for her intended audience youth My daughter really connected with the author and could be heard roaming the house saying things like, I m so glad I live in America, and I can keep a stamp collection without anyone trying to take it away from me All along our journey through this book, I kept pointing out to my children the subtle things that were alienating neighbors and family from each other and how it resulted in less freedom All youth should learn how to recognize these techniques to keep our freedoms strong.

  4. says:

    Many Americans, myself included, have an opinion about China, Communism, or most likely both What most of us have neglected to do is explore how valid our opinions are Ji Li Jiang s memoir was written for children, and because she is a teacher her book is very accessible for most elementary school age kids It s no less interesting or valuable for adults, though, simply because we are not her intended audience Red Scarf Girl brings us with Ji Li as she grows up in the height of China s cultural revolution, not long after the beginning of Communism in that country It s an unclouded, child s eye view of both what it s like to grow up in these conditions, as well as how political atrocities can take root in a community of normal, well intentioned citizens It also has strong themes of the importance of family, and of understanding your beliefs and the costs of holding them This book was touching, frightening, hopeful, and infuriating by turns, and I wouldn t hesitate to recommend it to anyone, especially in light of the upcoming Beijing Olympics.

  5. says:

    I ve only read a few books that center on the Cultural Revolution in China This one is different in that it s a memoir and focusses very specifically on 2 years of young girl s life when she s 12 14 years old very impressionable and insecure years for many girls, under normal situations Mao s Cultural Revolution was mayhem, from what I ve gathered from the few books I ve read People denouncing neighbours, people being wary afraid of speaking out, people being pronounced black not with the red regime for having family heirlooms or pictures showing past wealth or comforts It was an awful time of uncertainty and fear to have to live through.One thing this book shows is how a person who truly believed the goodness and leadership of Mao, was enthusiastic in all of Mao s initiatives and who tried so hard to be a good Red, slowly turned her way of thinking around because of how the Reds treated her and her family friends Fanaticism doesn t draw people into the fold but turns them away.This is an interesting look at one families trials through a difficult time.

  6. says:

    Check out my reviews on my blog Life is stranger than fiction Reading this unassuming looking middle grade book from 1999 really displays the truth of that statement The Hunger Games, Divergent none of these modern popular dystopian works come even close to the impact of Ji li Jiang s Red Scarf Girl As Ji li takes us through her life during the start of China s Cultural Revolution, the fabric of Chinese society crumbles day by day Heartbreak and destruction are constant, as homes are ransacked, the elderly are beaten in the streets, and children are coerced into denouncing their parents, all in the name of a poisonous left wing ideology.The parallels to the political issues the modern world faces are undeniable and scary The struggle sessions, where the ideologically possessed pile insults and accusations on supposed counterrevolutionaries, are just a few ticks up from a Twitter mob Readers watch on as poor Ji li struggles to come to terms with her grandfather s class status as a landlord, whom she never even met Yet his status has left a black mark on her family background, meaning that Ji li has unrenounceable privilege which haunts her at every turn Does any of this sound eerily familiar This is not a book with lush descriptions it reads as a bit older, though not dated, and the verbiage is very straightforward Though the language used is pretty plain, I remember reading this book as a kid and not really getting it Why was Ji li being pressured to write ugly lies about her teachers and post them around the school Why were the grown ups always holding whispered meetings in the bathroom If you read this book when you were younger, please give it another go, since I suspect hefty chunks of it will fly over the heads of the target audience Read as an adult, the message of Ji li s memoir is impossible to miss this is what happens when a government endorses equity and social justice, then elects extreme measures to achieve those impossible goals.

  7. says:

    A young adult memoir about growing up in Shanghai during the Cultural Revolution In many ways, her background was similar to my wife s, so from this standpoint it was quite interesting One step at a time, opportunities, luxuries, friendships, and even family relationships are stripped from her It s done in the name of advancing the revolutionary spirit While this is happening, she sometimes questions the authority and motives of the people implementing the policies But she never thinks to question the policies themselves, or their source in Mao.The great irony in the policies is that the idea is to eliminate the four olds These are old, pre revolutionary ways of thinking and behaving But the biggest sign of guilt for the Red Guard is that someone s ancestor was a landlord That s the black sin that taints the narrator s family And what is a sign of old thinking than the idea that a person is defined by his her ancestry The writing is a bit overly simple, as the book seems deliberately aimed at a YA audience This is too bad I don t mind the simplicity, but I don t like it when I get the impression that things have been deliberately been dumbed down It takes a special writer to put together a children s book that appeals to adults, and this one doesn t quite hit the mark Having said that, it was an interesting book to read, and I m by no means sorry that I did.

  8. says:

    This book is powerful for me because it happened to a girl my age who was born in China I wonder if I could have been as strong as she was Chairman Mao had them all fooled, and I wonder when not if it will happen again I read The Children s Story, by James Michner to my class to start this book It seems real to me and them Who now would give up his or her summer to work for the country Who would stay up all day and night to work on a project for shcool Who would walk right by his grandmother on the sidwalk when she needed help This powerful story shows us life in China during the Cultural Revolution My book group read this and of course I reread this book every year with my 7th grade students, so I ve read it multiple times My neighbor entered a history fair competition and won 5th in the nation She presented her project at our book group We had a great discussion and listened to the interview that she had with the author Ji Li is down to earth and normal She has fullfilled her goal in my mind She has raised awareness and helped people here know about what happened in China If you don t know about the Cultural Revolution or Chairman Mao, read this book It s very worth your time.

  9. says:

    Ji li Jiang writes of a terrible time the history of China and in her life Everyone was so enad and brainwashed by Mao s greatness that the Chinese began to change the way they thought, dressed, acted and were educated and if they didn t, they were seen as Four Olds to be humiliated in front of family and friends by teen guards that had become revolutionized to do Mao s good work Her family went from a success story to being blamed for a grandfather being a landlord which was considered the worst, their furniture was taken, their clothes, their father and they were questioned as enemies As soon as I finished I wanted to learn all I could about what would make a country change so much for Mao It was a sobering and scary story by a wonderful, bright, intelligent teen who chose to stand by her family and not renounce them.

  10. says:

    Very informational I have such a love and fascination for Chinese history, that I really enjoyed it I kept thinking, wow, we are so close to this in the US I hope I ve prepared my children to stand up for their heritage

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