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Publisher's Summary

Prize-winning journalist Philip P. Pan offers an unprecedented inside look at the momentous battle underway for China's future. On one side is the entrenched party elite, determined to preserve its authoritarian grip on power. On the other is a collection of lawyers, journalists, entrepreneurs, activists, hustlers, and dreamers striving to build a more tolerant, open, and democratic China. The outcome of this dramatic, hidden struggle will shape China's rise to superpower status - and determine how it affects the rest of the world. From factories in the rusting industrial northeast to a tabloid newsroom in the booming south, from a small-town courtroom to the plush offices of the nation's wealthiest tycoons, Pan speaks with men and women fighting and sacrificing for change. An elderly surgeon exposes the government's cover-up of the SARS epidemic. A filmmaker investigates the execution of a student in the Cultural Revolution. A blind man is jailed for leading a crusade against forced abortions carried out under the one-child policy.
Out of Mao's Shadow offers a startling perspective on China and its remarkable transformation, challenging conventional wisdom about the political apathy of the Chinese people and the notion that prosperity leads automatically to freedom. Like David Remnick's Lenin's Tomb, this is the moving story of a nation in transition, of a people coming to terms with their past.
©2008 Philip P. Pan (P)2008 Tantor
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Critic Reviews

"The...intersecting stories he tells here are gritty and real." ( Washington Post)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Paul on 04-14-09

Great insight into changes in China

A very interesting and well written book. He artfully displays the challenges facing China of dealing with the abuses of its past while facing the future.

The narrator has an excellent voice, yet he butchers the pronounciation of most Chinese names. It often took me some time to understand what city or province he was talking about. I found this distracting, but non-Chinese speakers will probably never notice.

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Doug on 07-09-12

From Socialism to State Capitalism

Citizens do not have the right to vote. There is only one point of view. There is no freedom of the press. Private property is not legally enforced. There is no eminent domain. You are not 'innocent until proven guilt.' The government is allowed to detain you without explanation. Public officials embezzle tax dollars to fund quasi-private companies. There is no taxation with representation. Politicians who speak out against the party are 'erased' from the history books. The Internet is censored. Child labor laws are unenforced. The Chinese peasantry pay higher taxes than urban dwellers. Unions and collective bargaining are illegal, which is a BIG surprise in a supposedly communist country where 'workers of the world' once united! No, this is an authoritarian regime that uses socialist dogma to keep order, but cannibalizes capitalism to fatten up the politcial elite.

Many Americans are becoming curious about China. A new generation is emerging in the United States that never knew the Soviet Union and wonders if China will seriously pose a threat. After reading this book, the greatest long-term threat China poses will be the awful calamity that follows a true government failure, and the reaction of the one billion people who are dependent on it.

The book details the lives of several Chinese citizens who endured specific struggles against their government officials and decrees. Their stories are very personal and wide-ranging in the scope of problems the author identifies.

China's politicians are riding the whirlwind of modern banking, cheap labor, and foriegn investment, but the Chinese people themselves are STILL on the BENCH....what's there to like about that?

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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