Tag Archives: communism

Levi, Carlo. Christ Stopped at Eboli

eboli  eboli3d

It was to Lucania, a desolate land in southern Italy, that Carlo Levi—a doctor, painter, philosopher, and man of letters—was confined as a political prisoner because of his opposition to Italy’s Fascist government at the start of the Ethiopian war in 1935. While there, Levi reflected on the harsh landscape and its inhabitants, peasants who lived the same lives their ancestors had, constantly fearing black magic and the near presence of death. In so doing, Levi offered a starkly beautiful and moving account of a place and a people living outside the boundaries of progress and time.

Publisher: Penguin Classics;
Year: 2000
ISBN-10: 0141183217

 (spoiler alert)

Chang, J. Wild swans: three daughters of China

Blending the intimacy of memoir and the panoramic sweep of eyewitness history,Wild Swans has become a bestselling classic in thirty languages, with more than ten million copies sold. The story of three generations in twentieth-century China, it is an engrossing record of Mao’s impact on China, an unusual window on the female experience in the modern world, and an inspiring tale of courage and love. Jung Chang describes the life of her grandmother, a warlord’s concubine; her mother’s struggles as a young idealistic Communist; and her parents’ experience as members of the Communist elite and their ordeal during the Cultural Revolution.

Author: Chang, Jung
Title: Wild swans: three daughters of China
Publisher: London : Harper Collins
Year: 1991
ISBN: 0006374921

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Like quite a few books on this site this is a story that encompasses terrible experiences and also documents what seems easiest to describe, but not explain, as inhumanity. The destructive chaos of the cultural revolution sits at the heart of this memoir …  “the more books you read, the more stupid you become,” doctors become peasants, untrained school girl becomes ‘barefoot doctor’ with some acupuncture needles and a book to follow. I found the most interesting character in the book was Chang’s father – a convinced communist who is ready to sacrifice family ties, struggling to come to terms with the direction the revolution has taken and then swallowed up in Mao’s nightmare. I sometimes found myself a bit swamped by the relentless stream of events (but the book does cover 70 years or so), but it was a fascinating read.