Vous voulez voir cette page en français ? Cliquez ici.

Sign in to turn on 1-Click ordering.
More Buying Choices
Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Tell the Publisher!
I'd like to read this book on Kindle

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

Red-Color News Soldier [Paperback]

Li Zhensheng
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 59.95
Price: CDN$ 37.58 & FREE Shipping. Details
You Save: CDN$ 22.37 (37%)
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
Temporarily out of stock.
Order now and we'll deliver when available. We'll e-mail you with an estimated delivery date as soon as we have more information. Your account will only be charged when we ship the item.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.ca. Gift-wrap available.


Amazon Price New from Used from
Hardcover --  
Paperback CDN $37.58  
Join Amazon Student in Canada

Book Description

Oct. 1 2003
Following World War II, China found itself struggling with a conversion to communism that had wreaked havoc on the nation's economy, causing a devastating famine and extreme economic depression. In 1966 China's leader, Mao Zedong, gave his support to radicals within the communist party who envisioned a revolutionary social upheaval that would destroy all traces of the reactionary past. This was the beginning of a ten-year period of violence and chaos known as the Cultural Revolution. Many top officials lost their positions and numerous provincial governments came under the control of the radicals. The radical movement was primarily led by students who formed organizations known as "Red Guards," which used violent methods to punish people they saw as "anti-Maoists" or counter-revolutionaries. At the height of the Cultural Revolution (1966-70) China's universities were closed and much of its populace was sent to rural "re-education centres" where they were indoctrinated with Maoist policies. It is during this period that Li Zhensheng worked as a photojournalist for the "Heilongjiang Daily", shooting film both for the paper and, as we know now, for himself. While Li worked for a newspaper supporting the Maoist movement and admits he did not think Mao's policies to be incorrect at the beginning of his tenure at the newspaper, his hiding of film was a highly subversive action. As a photographer, Li wanted to document the Cultural Revolution for himself and for others in the future. He put himself at risk by hiding film stills that the government would have destroyed, capturing events of which little or no other visual record exists. Looking at the photos in this book, one sees the difference between the photos published in the "Daily" and those Li hid for himself, allowing for a rare understanding of how the Chinese government controlled media during the Cultural Revolution. The Heilongjiang province where Li worked was crucial because of its proximity to the then Soviet Union. Its main city, Harbin, had been occupied by the Soviets following World War II and was later set up as a communication hub between the Soviet Union and China. It was the communist centre which bred the revolutionary movement, leading to China's unification under communist control in 1949. This Russian influence can be seen in the details of Li's photographs, right down to the city's typically Russian-style architecture. Many of Li's techniques as a photographer borrow from his training as a filmmaker, including his creation of "handheld panoramic" photos by shooting overlapping frames of large panoramas and pasting the stills together to create the illusion of one continuous shot. His inventive techniques and powerful images make Li one of the premier Chinese photographers alive today. This book, which takes its name from the literal translation of Li's accreditation as a photographer approved by the Communist Party headquarters in ! Beijing, is part of the key to understanding one of the most turbulent and still notorious eras of modern history. The book includes a preface, introduction, text by the photographer, chronology, maps, and extensive photo captions for over 400 photos (almost all of which have never been seen before).

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought

Product Details

Product Description


'This collection of photos, taken by Li in the north-eastern province of Heilongjiang, where he worked for the official Communist party newspaper, is unique for a simple reason. Although the post-Mao Chinese government has labelled the cultural revolution "10 years of chaos", it still tries to suppress any real inquiry into the countless human tragedies it caused ... This remarkable book, which still cannot be published on the mainland, is a salutary reminder that, in the Chinese phrase, accounts have yet to be settled with the past.' (Guardian) 'An illuminating and unique photographic collection.' (Times Higher Education Supplement) 'Fascinating ... An excellent book.' (Amateur Photographer) 'Every shot is a harrowing legacy of the brutality, cruelty, and naivety of those times, when Mao and his followers sought to destroy all traces of the past.' (The Glasgow Herald) '...An extraordinary picture of one of the most bizarre, complex and catastrophic episodes in China's history." (New Statesman) 'Li's photographs are remarkable for their dramatic impact, but are also composed with utmost precision.' (Financial Times) 'The interweaving of autobiography, images with a strong narrative structure and an illuminating tranche of contextual writing is what makes this book so revealing and so engaging.' (Morning Star) 'What distinguishes Mr. Li's collection of 30,000 negatives is that it shows in shocking detail what was happening at a grass-roots level in a remote Chinese province far from western eyes. His work also reflects the instincts of a journalist and the eye of an artist.' (The New York Times) 'The collection offers an astonishing and invaluable record of a decade of political zealotry that veered out of control and resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands.' (Publishers Weekly) 'Mr. Li's photos graphically capture the emotional pain of the humiliation inflicted by young punks on powerful men, governors and Communist Party first secretaries... Each photo is captioned with a description, and the collection is accompanied with Mr. Li's readable text describing the impact of the Cultural Revolution on his life.' (The Washington Times) 'The first complete photo history to present China's dark Cultural Revolution (1966-76) in all its inhumanity.' (Entertainment Weekly) 'This is a startling and unique perspective.' (The Christian Science Monitor) 'These images are rare and powerful reminders of events that might otherwise have been forgotten ... By capturing that decade of shame and destruction, and preserving it forever on paper, Li has challenged the world never to forget.' (Reader's Digest) 'A minutely documented (the 285 prints were gleaned from the tens of thousands of negatives Li hid under his floorboards), scrupulously honest (the book orders all the prints strictly chronologically, and all are uncropped) record of the revolution.' (The Atlantic Monthly) 'With Red-Color News Soldier...Li, now 63, has brought forth an unprecedented vision of this dark chapter in Chinese history.' (US News & World Report) 'Taken at enormous personal risk, the photographs collected here depict extraordinary events...It's their unadorned straightforwardness that makes Red Color News Soldier such a profoundly disturbing document.' (Photo District News) '[A] groundbreaking book.' (Newsweek International) 'A straightforward and open account of that era giving valuable insight into a tormented period of history.' (The Asian Review of Books on the Web) 'One of the great events of the 20th Century at last is found to have received coherent visual expression. Moreover, it's the only complete record of the Cultural Revolution known to exist. It is impossible to overrate the historical value of this densely packed volume.' (The Chicago Tribune) 'Li Zhensheng's disturbing photographs of the rise and fall of Mao's Cultural Revolution are a truly stunning achievement...A brilliant book!' (Worldview) '...[O]ne of the most important photo books in recent memory.' (American Photo) 'Red-Color News Soldier documents the spectacular nitty-gritty of everyday totalitarian fanaticism, with pictures culled from the thousands taken by photojournalist Li Zhensheng in the mid 1960s...The trove of negatives hidden for two decades below the floorboards of his house constitute the single most extensive record of the Cultural Revolution.' (The Village Voice) 'One of the most unforgettable books of the past year...It is utterly engrossing, even when you can barely look at it.' (Slate)

About the Author

Li Zhensheng was born in Dalian, China, in 1940. After studying film, he joined The Heilongjiang Daily as a photojournalist in 1963 and documented the Chinese Cultural Revolution in its entirety. In 1987, a collection of 20 of his photos were released, bearing the title Let History Tell the Future, and won the Grand Prize at China's National Press Association Photo Competition. Since 1996 he has been a visiting scholar, lecturing on the Cultural Revolution at at the universities of Harvard and Princeton. His work has appeared in major magazines worldwide including Time, The New York Times Magazine, Der Spiegel, and Le Nouvel Observateur. Jonathan Spence is Sterling Professor of History at Yale University. He is the author of a distinguished body of work on the history of modern China, including the seminal book, The Search for Modern China (1990). His book The Gate of Heavenly Peace The Chinese and Their Revolution 1895-1980 (1981) was awarded the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for History. Spence was named a MacArthur Fellow in 1988 and is established as one of the foremost experts on the history and culture of modern China.

Sell a Digital Version of This Book in the Kindle Store

If you are a publisher or author and hold the digital rights to a book, you can sell a digital version of it in our Kindle Store. Learn more

Customer Reviews

3 star
2 star
1 star
4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A shocking look at a remarkable period Dec 22 2003
Although the photographs are the main focus of this book, the accompanying text is also illuminating as an individual's account of his experiences of the Cultural Revolution. The text has, of course, been written with the benefit of hindsight - and one gets a sense of retrospective self-justification coming in. The passion that the period inspired amongst the younger generation is also evident, however.
The photographs are, of course, contemporary accounts of the living through that period, and consequently have the power to shock significantly. The "struggle session" photographs of senior party leaders undergoing "self-criticism" are particularly horrific. The concluding photographs of a "victor" of the Cultural Revolution on her way to her execution after the restoration of a more normal society also have a big impact - though curiously there is a sense of the pathetic about the woman that Li captures.
The photography merits a 5 star rating, the text probably a three. The images are a valuable insight into the strength of emotion in that remarkable period.
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful June 11 2004
By A Customer
This isn't just a history book laced with photos; this is also a personal view on the Cultural Revolution from the photographer's point of view. Informative and emotional at the same time. Wonderful.
Was this review helpful to you?
4.0 out of 5 stars The Many Faces of the Cultural Revolution March 22 2004
For those of us fascinated and puzzled over the cultural revolution in China, here are photos to bring to life what we've been reading.There are many faces to study. This document seems curiously objective even though the author has his own story to tell of being treated unfairly. I would not describe the photos as shocking to those who have studied these events in China's history. This is a great companion to any other narrative one might be studying on the subject. Also, the author is a remarkable person. This is another work on the cultural revolution where I come away feeling gratitude toward the author. Li Zhensheng has a more benign story in comparison with some other personal accounts that were part of my introduction to this subject. I enjoy this additional perspective. There is much to see here.
Was this review helpful to you?
Want to see more reviews on this item?

Look for similar items by category