Witness to Revolution

Title: Red Fire: Growing Up During the Chinese Cultural Revolution

Author: Wei Yang Chao

Setting: Beijing, China 1960s

Ever wondered what it would be like to be a witness to history, to watch these watershed moments take place in front of your eyes? From what I’ve read, the answer is – terrifying. Wei Yang Chao was a witness to one of the biggest revolutions in history, especially if you go by the sheer number of people involved. He attended one rally that included over a million people, and the prospect of violence at every turn. He was lucky to survive.

This book  is a first-hand account of the Cultural Revolution in China. Chao was there after the Summer Palace was destroyed. He was a witness to the rise of the Red Guard. He saw teachers and other “enemies of the state” tortured, sometimes to death. His own parents were victims of a “struggle session” as soldiers his own age smashed through the house and beat his parents.

This was an incredible but grim read. To me it was nothing but terror and abuse, as the country fell into chaos. But Chao was more caught up in the struggle. At times, he wanted to fight against the class enemies, but when people he respected became targets, he would question why this revolution had to be so violent.

I would definitely recommend this book. I knew little about this time, so I found it darkly fascinating. It’s not for everyone. It is violent. But it’s an important record of real life.

I received this book free in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: The Case of the Green-Dressed Ghost

Kester is having a hard time since his mom died. He doesn’t have a job, he has no friends, and no plans, but he does have a lead. His mom mentions something before she dies, a Dr. Ribero. Kester decides to follow up and finds himself in a whole new world. One where there are ghosts.

This reminded me a little of the Jonathan Stroud series, Lockwood & Co. Ribero’s group of ghost hunters is similarly short-staffed and underappreciated. But this, while still a really clean read, is geared more for adults than kids. The staff is a lot pricklier too, but I did like the whole bickering crew. I hope this is the first of a long series, because I really want to read more. Thanks for the chance to read it.

I received this for free in return for a review from NetGalley, but my opinions are my own.