"A highly personal, honest, funny and well-informed account of China's
hyperactive effort to forget its past and reinvent its future."—The New York Times Book Review
Read alsoLegends of the Lamed-Vav Volume 1, Number 2: The Jewish Cossack
The legend of the Lamed-Vav that began in “Simple Chaim” now moves to the next generation in “The Jewish Cossack”. Nissim Kozlovsky has been raised by his mother, Raizel, to believe in the legend of the Lamed-Vav, 36 hidden people who are the repositories of God's compassion in this world. But in the terrible early days of WW II, Nissim feels…
As one the first American students admitted to China after the communist revolution, John Pomfret was exposed to a country still emerging from the twin tragedies of the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. Crammed into a dorm room with seven Chinese men, Pomfret contended with all manner of cultural differences, from too-short beds and roommates intent on glimpsing a white man naked, to the need for cloak-and-dagger efforts to conceal his relationships with Chinese women. Amidst all that, he immersed himself in the remarkable lives of his classmates.
Beginning with Pomfret's first day in China, Chinese Lessons takes us down the often torturous paths that brought together the Nanjing University History Class of 1982: Old Wu's father was killed during the Cultural Revolution for the crime of being an intellectual; Book Idiot Zhou labored in the fields for years rather than agree to a Party-arranged marriage; and Little Guan was forced to publicly denounce and humiliate her father. As Pomfret follows his classmates from childhood to adulthood, he examines the effect of China's transition from near-feudal communism to first-world capitalism. The result is an illuminating report from present-day China, and a moving portrait of its extraordinary people.