Alphabet Challenge– Letter “E”

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The two books chosen for this letter are:

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Blurb: “A young idealist, heedless of his father’s warnings, sets forth to help his downtrodden countrymen and to find happiness in a beautiful dancer. He falls into a merciless trap and defies untold dangers to regain his freedom….

Here are the ageless elements of the world’s great tales of romance and adventure. But in Escape From Red China their impact is intensified by their immediate and terrible truth. This dramatic yet factual account of how Robert Loh was deceived by Mao Tse-tung’s “New Democracy”, of his ill-starred love, and of the strange double life he led before his breathtaking escape to the West is the first authentic narrative of life behind the Bamboo Curtain by an ex-official of the Chinese Communist regime. It is one of the most important documents of our time”

My review: *****stars!

This is actually my second time reading this, but enjoyed it just as much the second time around. This is the harrowing true account of Robert Loh. He was in the midst of getting his education at an American university in the ’50’s, when some of his friends and acquaintances convinced him to return to China and work toward the building of a “New China”. He was and idealist, and believed the Communist propaganda, wanted to make change, end corruption, and help his fellow countrymen. He rapidly worked his way up in the Communist Party, and even when witnessed or experienced things he did not agree with, he justified it to himself by thinking that when “change” was complete, all wrongs would be rectified. He dedicated himself for 8 years to his work for the “New China”, but became disillusioned with the Communist promises in comparison to the horror, injustices, and inhumanity of the Communist Party. He resolved his only choice was to escape. He realized that the China he had envisioned would never be a reality. He hated to leave the love of his life, Li-Li. He had wanted to marry her, but she resolved to never marry again. Her first husband had been put in forced labor camp for being a “counter- revolutionary” and “wrong thinking” and had died due to the extreme conditions and abuse. She did not feel she had the strength herself to try to escape, and it was impossible for them to do so together, but she insisted that he do so and try to let the world know what was really going on there, that was contrary to what the mainstream media was reporting and what the Chinese government wanted the world to believe. He got out and managed to get to America, ended up working for the U.S. government. He said that it made him very sad, when trying to tell Americans about the truth of the Communists and what the Chinese people were enduring, that he would be told that he was just sour grapes because he had been a businessman, of the “bourgeois” class, which was contrary to the Communist way. He would try to relate that he gave not only the love of his life, but much power, luxury, and prestige, much more than he would ever enjoy in the U.S., in order to not only save himself but warn the world of what monsters the ruling class in China really were. This book was written in 1962, not long after his escape, and thus his memories are not distorted with time. A great book, and one I would highly recommend.

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Never trust an all-powerful ruler who is used to getting his way in everything, is insulting to everyone, and invites you from a great distance to get an “insider’s view” of where the sun shines best in your village. He probably wants to raze your village, making everyone there homeless, in order to make way for his vacation villa with village size swimming pool. All red flags. That is Emperor Kuzco, but in the end, through a series of events, he learns (a little), the value of a true friend as opposed to the “yes-men” that surrounded him and really plotted his demise, and the importance of keeping one’s word. Great moral. I didn’t give it a higher rating, since it seemed a bit long and tedious for the younger set.

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