In Out of Mao’s Shadow, Harvard graduate and Washington Post foreign correspondent Philip P. Pan does an absolutely fabulous job of drawing readers in to the upside-down and inside-out world of modern China by showing us how the lives of a handful of specific Chinese people have been affected by recent events in China’s tumultuous history.
The stories are sympathetic towards the people whose lives the author explores and the choices they make, yet he leaves us to form our own judgments about them. Compelling and informative, this book is one I would recommend to anyone who wants to understand China.
If you had to choose between this one and Chinese Whispers by Ben Chu, read this one. Pan provides a unique perspective but doesn’t take the debunking tack that Chu does. Pan’s writing is more like Peter Hessler’s, though his tone is somber while Hessler’s in Country Driving is humorous at times.
When and Why I Read Out of Mao’s Shadow
This is one of only a small handful of books that I bought in the period from July 2010 to June 2011 that I have not yet read. China is a topic that interests me, and it was nice to check this book off the list of books waiting patiently to be read. I didn’t necessarily expect to enjoy it as much as I did.
Genre: non-fiction (politics, history, China)
Date started / date finished: 06-Feb-17 to 13-Feb-17
Length: 326 pages
ISBN: 9781413595519 (paperback)
Originally published in: 2008
Amazon link: Out of Mao’s Shadow